Chapters 1 & 2, Srimad Bhagavad-Gita

10 October 2018

Chapter One

This chapter is mainly setting the scene and there are not really any key slokas to learn.

Having said that, the paramahamsas find deep meaning in the smallest things, and there is a good example of that in this chapter: Srila Gurudev once gave a whole talk inspired by the seemingly insignificant phrase ‘bhismam evabhiraksantu’ (1.11) please read/listen to that here:
http://scsmath.org/island/020402transcript.html
Really important message for all our SCSM members.

Also the very first verse is a nice one to learn as it is capturing the setting and background of Bhagavad-gita in a concise way, and it’s also simple to learn I think:

dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś chaiva kim akurvata sañjaya
Dhrtarastra said: “O Sanjaya, what happened when my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled for battle at the holy place of Kuruksetra?”

11 October 2018

Chapter Two

There are so many important verses in this chapter that we can’t cover them at once. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur described this chapter as a summary of the whole of Gita (as it covers karma, jnan, and bhakti) and Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad thus calls this chapter “Contents of the Gita summarised” in his edition.

I’m just going to start with verse 7 which is quite important. It marks the real starting point of Bhagavad-gita, when Arjuna sets aside his own estimation of things and takes the surrendered position of a disciple before Krishna. It also illustrates the need of a Guru. Param Guru Maharaj wonderfully expresses the spirit of this verse at the beginning of Sri Guru and His Grace:

“We are living in an environment which is afflicted with serious misconception, misunderstanding, misguidance, and misbehaviour. How are we to ascertain what is good and what is bad, what we should aspire after and what we should reject? Innumerable alternatives have thronged in a crowd, coming to infuence us. And when this area, covered by illusion and influenced by misunderstanding, is filled with such diversity, how can we hope to know the infinite spiritual world of Vaikuntha? With what attitude should we approach that realm which is transcendental, beyond the realm of the senses and mind, adhoksaja?

“We must accept any way and any alliance that will help us gain entrance into that realm. We shall try to have even the slightest connection with that perfect goal of our innate aspiration. We are helpless; we are hopeless in the midst of disappointment. We are in extreme danger. We rely on our free will, our capacity of selection for our own good, but it is too minute and helpless to guide us. What danger we are in! All around us are witnesses to this danger. How important is a real Guru who can guide us to our real welfare.”

So, verse 7:

kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ
pṛchchhāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-chetāḥ
yach chhreyaḥ syān niśchitaṁ brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
“Now I am bewildered. What is my real duty? I am losing heart and distraught. So please tell me clearly what is the best course of action to take. I am Your surrendered disciple; please instruct me.”

I recommend trying to learn at least the last line of this verse which expresses quite a crucial mood of seeking higher guidance in a surrendered mood and is often quoted by our Gurus: śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam, “I am Your surrendered disciple; please instruct me.”

Question: Jai Nitai 🙏🙏 As we are living in midst of danger in this material world, we need to surrender to a real Guru. But how do we get connected to a real Guru?

Answer: You may find this helpful: http://www.gaudiyadarshan.com/posts/how-to-find-your-guru/

12 October 2018

Continuing with chapter two: just wanted to share appreciation for these expressions at the beginning:

2.10
tam uvācha hṛṣīkeśaḥ prahasann iva bhārata
senayor ubhayor madhye viṣīdantam idaṁ vachaḥ
“O Bharata, there amidst the armies, Sri Hrishikesh, smiling, spoke thus to the grief-stricken Arjuna:”

This inspires me because it illustrates how, bewildered by objective circumstances, seeing things according to our materialistic, separate interest, we become easily disturbed and lament over various things. But from a spiritual perspective, seeing the Lord’s hand behind everything, one is always hopeful, positive, and optimistic.
So, while Arjuna is crying, Krishna is smiling ! (Vide: the verse tat te ‘nukampam, Param Guru Maharaj explains wonderfully here (as well as in many other places) https://premadharma.org/the-wave-of-love/)

2.11
aśochyān anvaśochas tvaṁ
I like this phrase very much, the beginning of Krishna’s response to Arjuna: you are lamenting over that which is not worthy of lamentation. This is our disease: giving importance to that which has no importance, no meaning. One definition of ‘anartha’, that which has no meaning. One definition of maya, ‘that which is not’.
The word sudra is connected to this same word in Sanskrit which means lamentation, so a sudra means one who laments. Why? Because they are involved with the temporary, mortal things of this world. But with higher vision, with faith, we see that this world of matter is just an artificial cover, we are actually eternal souls and there is also a world of spirit, and even more, there is a God who loves us! So what need for lamentation? One will be optimistic at every step.

These are not major slokas to learn but I just wanted to share how they have inspired me.

13 October 2018

Continuing with chapter two, now we’ve come to the soul slokas. Important reminder of basic teachings. I observed on a few occasions that when persons were facing death in some way Srila Gurudev would advise them to read this chapter of Gita, no doubt because it gives us this all-important reminder that we are not these bodies.

SPIRITUAL ABCs: YOU ARE A SPIRIT SOUL

2.12
na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na chaiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param

“Never was there a time when you, I, or all these kings did not exist. Just as we exist in the present, so have we existed in the past, and shall continue to exist in the future.”

2.13
dehino ’smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati

“As the living being passes through the bodily changes of childhood, youth and old age, it similarly attains another body at death. The wise are not deluded by this.”

2.14
mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ
āgamāpāyino ’nityās
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata

“O son of Kunti, the engagement of the senses with their objects produces the sensations of cold, heat, pleasure and pain. But these effects are temporary—they come and go. Therefore, O Bharata, you must endure them.”

2.20
na jāyate mriyate vā kadāchin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

“The soul is neither born nor dies; it has neither been nor will it be created, because it is unborn and eternal.It is ever-youthful, yet ancient. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.”

2.22
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

“As a person adopts new garments, discarding those that are old and worn, similarly, the soul continues to adopt new bodies, leaving those that are old and useless.”

2.29
āścharya-vat paśyati kaśchid enam
āścharya-vad vadati tathaiva chānyaḥ
āścharya-vach chainam anyaḥ śṛṇoti
śrutvāpy enaṁ veda na chaiva kaśchit
“Some see the soul as astonishing, some describe it as astonishing, some hear of it as astonishing, while others, though hearing about it, know nothing of it.”

Question: Pranam 🙏🙏 In reference to Bhagavat Gita Verse 2.20 if the soul leaves the old and useless bodies and adopts new bodies then there is no permanent relationship with the loved ones of old body. Then why do we perform the last rites of the deceased person? Moreover if the soul continues to adopt new bodies repeatedly then how can the soul be liberated and attain salvation??

Answer:  Pranams.
Last rites: this is a traditional custom which is part of the whole Vedic system of living in harmony with our environment within the various social and religious roles assigned to us according to our present acquired nature. One aspect of that is debt to certain entities which we are obliged to pay in different ways. One of those debts is to the forefathers which should be paid as you describe.

However we are not followers of the traditional Vedic customs, we are followers of Bhagavat dharma, or Krishna consciousness. We are not ‘Hindus’ so to speak. The idea is that if you are performing your absolute, central duty as an exclusive servant of God and trying to serve him in love, then so many secondary duties do not apply to you. Therefore we do not place much importance on these traditional rites, though we certainly respect those who do them as it is an honourable practice serving a particular purpose. Please see Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.5.41 for further elaboration on this point.

Adopting new bodies: the idea is that if one is continuing to act selfishly they continue to incur more karmic debt and therefore are obliged to pay that through taking birth again and again. This point will be elaborated upon further in Gita.

It seems to me though that you are not so familiar with our teachings. I strongly suggest you read Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad’s ‘Bhagavad-gita As It Is’ as an accompaniment to this study group. http://www.vedabase.com/en/bg

Sunday 14 October 2018

FACE YOUR BATTLEFIELD

Good morning friends! Continuing with chapter two, these verses offer us a wonderful meditation to start our day with.

What may appear to us as a challenge, difficulty, hardship is actually a great opportunity, ‘an open door to heaven’. If you can face the battle in the right way, as when undergoing an examination, you will only be the gainer.

Another point here: doing our duty can only result in success. Srila Gurudev quoted this verse (37) once in regards to his spirit in serving in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Doing good can only equal good, however the result may be calculated materially. Although you may superficially incur some loss through your actions, you are only gaining in the substantial sense, in the spiritual sense.

Therefore, don’t entangle your mind with the material consequences, by apparent ‘success’ or ‘failure’. Success and failure should not be determined by the material result, but rather in your purity of heart and intention in performing the action, and the resulting grace behind you. Therefore ‘pleasure, pain, gain, loss’, etc should be seen with equal vision. Just as Ramachandra demonstrated his equanimity when being banished to exile. He was about to be crowned king, but when he was told instead that he must enter exile it is described that the expression on his face did not change. So, a life of blind duty! It is to live in a very, very high sphere and it can only equal great success.

2.32, 37, & 38
yadṛchchhayā chopapannaṁ svarga-dvāram apāvṛtam
sukhinaḥ kṣatriyāḥ pārtha labhante yuddham īdṛśam [32]
(he)rtha–O Arjuna; sukhinaḥ–the fortunate; kṣatriyāḥ–warriors; labhante–attain; yuddham–a battle; īdṛśam–like this; upapannam–present; yadṛchchhayā–of its own accord; apāvṛtam svarga-dvāram cha–as an open door to heaven
“O Pārtha, only the most fortunate warriors are blessed with the opportunity of such a battle, which has come to you like an open door to heaven.”
hato vā prāpsyasi svargaṁ jitvā vā bhokṣyase mahīm
tasmād uttiṣṭha kaunteya yuddhāya kṛta-niśchayaḥ [37]
hataḥ vā–If killed in battle; svargam prāpsyasi–you will attain heaven; jitvā vā–or by gaining victory; bhokṣyase–you will enjoy; mahīm–the earth. tasmāt–Therefore; (he) kaunteya–O Arjuna; kṛta-niśchayaḥ (san)–being confident of success; uttiṣṭha–arise; yuddhāya–for battle
“O son of Kuntī, if you are killed, you will attain heaven, and if you are victorious, you will enjoy your life on earth. Therefore, being confident of your success, arise for battle!”
sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau
tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi [38]
same kṛtvā–By seeing with an attitude of equanimity; sukha-duḥkhe–pleasure and pain; lābha-alābhau–gain and loss; jaya-ajayau (cha)–and victory and defeat; tataḥ–thereafter; yujyasva–engage; yuddhāya–in battle. evam–In this way; na avāpsyasi–you will not incur; pāpam–sin
“Considering pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and victory and defeat to be one and the same—fight. No sin will be incurred by you.”
Question: Pranam Didi 🙏🙏 In these verses if I am correct it’s emphasised on Karma without any desire for the results???
Answer: Correct Karan, this is the main principal of niskama karma-yoga: that action is based on a sense of righteous duty, without consideration of how the results will affect one personally. The Vaishnavas, however, go one step further in that they calculate things in terms of Krishna’s interest, Guru’s interest, Vaishnava interest. This is bhakti-yoga. So in karma yoga one will be dis-interested, but in bhakti yoga one will be Krishna-interested.

16 October 2018

Please accept my dandabat pranams to all, praying this finds you in “glowing devotional enthusiasm” as Srila Gurudev has expressed.

THE INVULNERABLE ACCOUNT

Continuing with chapter two, we’ve come to verse 40. This is an important and encouraging verse about the nature of bhakti, quoted many times by our gurus.

Whatever you gain in the practice of devotion (in the form of sukriti or sraddha) can never be lost. As Srila Gurudev has paraphrased this very simply, “Whatever you do in connection with the eternal plane will have an eternal result.” Even if you just begin and then give it up, you will still carry the benefit from that initial practice and will also not suffer any bad reaction as a consequence of having left it. Sometimes we see persons who take the path up and later leave it due to various influences of the mundane environment: according to the conception here our general vision will be that their wealth is underground, and when the environment is favourable it will surface and begin to develop again.

Srila Param Gurudev on this verse:

“The knowledge of that eternal characteristic is not lost. It may be again covered for some time but will again awake. Other transient things come up and go down, but this is of eternal character. This will stand, and in course of time it will gather ground again and permanently.” (82.05.18)

EXCEPTION: There is one exception to this principle, however: that is Vaishnava-aparadha, offence to the Vaishnava. In Chaitanya-charitamrta Mahaprabhu famously refers to this as the ‘mad elephant’ offence which can uproot our tender creeper of devotion. Therefore it is the greatest danger in our devotional life. Worldly sin can cover our wealth, but Vaishnava-aparadh can destroy it. Therefore Srila Gurudev put so much emphasis on the principles of trnad api sunichena, taror iva sahisnuna, amanina manadena, humility, tolerance, and giving respect to others without expecting in return: if we can follow these we will automatically safeguard ourselves from making offence. And this cultivation must take place on a heart level, not just in terms of behaviour.

In our Param Gurudev’s purport to this verse he also points out that ‘maha-bhaya’ (‘the great fear’) generally refers to the fear of samsara, or repeated birth and death, but according to the devotional perspective it also refers to mukti, liberation. So both the tendencies for bhukti (enjoyment or exploitation leading to further entanglement in samsara) and mukti (desire for liberation which leads to a kind of spiritual suicide, or ‘burial’ in the plane of nondifferentiated consciousness) are ‘maha-bhaya’, fearful and to be avoided. Only bhakti, a life of dedication to the centre within an organic and dynamic whole, is to be embraced and accepted as truly wholesome and natural for the soul.

Another point Param Gurudev makes there, referencing Srila Rupa Goswami’s important verse describing the nature of pure devotion (anyabhilasita-sunyam…), which I very much appreciate is that the tendencies for bhukti and mukti are but covers; bhakti is actually the natural wealth of the soul, it is just underground and undeveloped. So he says, ‘If we subtract bhukti and mukti, then only positive bhakti, devotion, is the remainder.”

And the way to do that of course (remove those covers) is by practising bhakti! Because here’s another point: bhakti is such that once having entered, or having begun development, it must gradually gain ground and take over the whole thing without leaving space for others, because it is of the absolute, nirgun plane.

Param Gurudev:

“Our approach towards nirguṇa, towards cent per cent true conception, our approach has got no setback, nehābhikrama-nāśo ‘sti, if for the time being it is left, it is there. Again if I am to begin from there, it won’t be lost. Pratyavāyo na vidyate, and no external obstacles can check it. It is in such a plane, the progress.

“In the deepest plane, to come to Me, that is to have a contact with the deepest plane. And the very nature of the plane is such that any connection cannot be opposed by other gross planes of limited power. They are not bold enough to come in opposition with this, the absolute plenary wave. They have no power to interfere. My plane is such, and the waves of the plane are such, ahaitukī apratihatā, it is causeless and it can never be opposed, apratihatā. None can oppose it. None venture to come in opposition, to stand in opposition when one has commenced his journey towards Me clear, none venture to come to oppose him. My control over the whole is of such quality. …

“…So in that plane if we have any contact, can make any contact with that plane nirguṇa bhumi, then other plenary influences will withdraw at once.” [81.11.11]

2.40

नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते ।
स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्म्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ॥४०॥

nehābhikrama-nāśo ’sti pratyavāyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt [40]

iha–In this (bhakti-) yoga; na asti–there is no; abhikrama-nāśaḥ–failure in the beginning; na vidyate–and there is no; pratyavāyaḥ–diminution of results. svalpam api–Even the slightest practice; asya dharmasya–of this bhakti-yoga; trāyate–saves one; mahataḥ bhayāt–from the great fear of birth and death in the material world.

“On this path there can be no loss and no harm. The slightest practice of such a spiritual ideal saves one from the greatest fear.”

Question: Pranam Didi!!! If we try to cultivate humility, tolerance and giving respect without expecting in return from the heart level to avoid Vaishnava Apraadh then will it not be taken as a sign of weakness from material point of view? In regards to Bhukti and Mukti I feel that the basic cause of them is material desire. Please correct me !!!

Answer: Pranams.
We are not so interested in the material point of view. We don’t want to waste our energy there unless it is really necessary. Do you know the story of Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis and the digvijay pandit? The pandit was travelling and defeating various scholars in debate. When he came to Rupa-Sanatan in Vrindavan they both humbly declined and agreed to sign a statement to the effect that they had been defeated by him. They did not want to waste their time. Who cares what the common, deluded mass think? Vox populi is not vox dehi. Param Gurudev: “We are not interested in the opinion of anyone ordinary.” We are interested in the opinion of the sane section, not the insane section. We are interested in amnaya, higher truth which has descended from above, and the persons who carry that.
Of course this is a general principle and in certain situations there may be some adjustment. For example when that pandit went to Jiva Goswami, Jiva Goswami became angry and debated with and defeated him, in order to establish the dignity of his Gurus.

Bhukti & mukti both spring out of the root disease of selfishness, or envy as it is described at the beginning of Bhagavatam. In bhukti that selfishness is expressed as the desire for worldly, materialistic enjoyment, and in the aspiration for mukti that selfishness is expressed as a desire to become free from the suffering and entanglement which bhukti brings about. They are like two sides of the same coin. For more clarification on these three planes of life (exploitation, renunciation, and dedication) I recommend you read this article, which is published as the foreword to the text Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam: https://premadharma.org/sri-sri-prapanna-jivanamrtam/#SSPJ-S-04
I hope this answers your questions. With affection: Vishakha dasi

17 October 2018

ONE-POINTED VISION

Bg 2.41

व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन ।
बहुशाखा ह्यनन्ताश्च बुद्धयोऽव्यवसायिनाम् ॥४१॥

vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś cha buddhayo ’vyavasāyinām [41]

(he) kuru-nandana–O Arjuna, descendant of the Kuru dynasty; vyavasāya-ātmikā buddhiḥ–the resolute intelligence; iha–to practise this (bhakti-) yoga; eka (eva)–is onepointed; (tu)–but; buddhayaḥ–the intelligence; avyavasāyinām–of the irresolute—those who nurture mundane desires; hi–is certainly; anantāḥ–endlessly; bahu-śākhāḥ cha–many-branched, splayed.

“O descendant of the Kuru dynasty, resolute intelligence dedicated to Me is one-pointed—I am its only objective. But irresolute intelligence is splayed by endless desires for mundane enjoyment.”

Very wonderful verse! Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur has also written a wonderful paraphrasation of this verse to illustrate the meaning:

“My sadhana is to serve the lotus feet of the Lord, to remember and glorify him as instructed by my Guru. That is also my goal (sadhya). It is my life-sustaining medicine, for I cannot give up the sadhana and the sadhya. This is my most desirable object, for I cannot give up the sadhana and the sadhya. This is my most desirable object, my duty, and nothing else is my duty; nothing else is desired, even in dreams. There may be happiness or sorrow. Samsara may be destroyed, or may not be destroyed. That is no loss for me. Let there only be resolute intelligence fixed in pure bhakti.”

We all aspire for this kind of vyavasāyātmikā-buddhi and we have heard that this commentary acted as an epiphany for Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad and was instrumental in inspiring him to take up the order of his Guru to spread Krishna consciousness in the West.

Vide: Param Gurudev describing Arjuna’s one-pointed vision https://premadharma.org/sri-guru-and-his-grace/#SGHS-S-07-535

Question: Pranam Didi 🙏🙏 If I have got it correct then the above verse tells us to put Krishna as the centre of our life. Whatever action we perform should be dedicated to Krishna.

Answer: YES! Jay! Full marks, 100%–you got it😊😊😊🙏
This is the very purpose of our mission and practice, to come to such realisation.

Though actually there is no ‘should’ in this verse, it is simply describing the one-pointed nature of the consciousness of one who has come to such realisation.
Our consciousness is splayed by so many desires, our senses pull us in so many different directions, but the truly Krishna conscious sadhu only sees one thing: the satisfaction of Hari, Guru and Vaishnava. They view the environment wholly as the Lord’s property and as service paraphernalia for Him. Everything is calculated in terms of that higher interest and so their consciousness is very focused. There is only one thing, one interest, and nothing else. As Param Gurudev has expressed, “our war cry is Krishna santosh (for the satisfaction of Krishna)”.

Question: Thank you Vishakha Didi🙏🙏 It’s true that a true Krishna Conscious Sadhu sees the satisfaction of Hari, Guru and Vaishnava. But I feel that an individual can satisfy Hari, Guru and Vaishnava provided the individual cultivates love for Hari, Guru and Vaishnava. Some people might serve Hari out of fear and desire for material success and fulfilling their material desire. But the basic idea according to my understanding is that service to Hari should be out of love from heart. 🙏🌹🙏

Answer: Yes you are right, but who is a sadhu? Any individual who lives like that is automatically a sadhu. Sadhu does not only mean saffron cloth or living a particular lifestyle.
Do you remember the history of the Rajasuya sacrifice in Mahabharata? Krishna said the bell would ring when Vaishnava seva had been done. So many great persons took prasad but still the bell did not ring. Finally by Krishna’s instruction a very poor man on the outskirts of the city was brought and when he was properly offered prasad the bell rang with each and every morsel.
We can also think in terms of percentage as our Gurudev has pointed out. There are 100% pure sadhus, there are 50%, 20%, 5%, etc. Anyone who has accepted this kind of ideal is a sadhu to some extent. I will also consider you a sadhu if you have accepted this ideal.

19 October 2018

Dandabat pranams and good afternoon dear Vaishnavas and sincere seekers.
Continuing with chapter two, we have come to 2.45:

“STAND EVER IN THE PLANE OF TRUTH”

त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्ज्जुन ।
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् ॥४५॥

traiguṇya-viṣayā vedā nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna
nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kṣema ātmavān [45]

(he) arjuna–O Arjuna; vedāḥ–the Vedas; trai-guṇya-viṣayāḥ–deal with the modes of material nature—worldly subjects. nirdvandvaḥ–Give up duality (honour and dishonour, etc., in the purview of these modes); nitya-sattva-sthaḥ–be always situated in the truth (or remain with the true devotees); niryoga-kṣemaḥ–free from acquisition and preservation; (cha)–and; ātmavān (san)–engaging in this buddhi-yoga, yoga of wisdom that I teach you; bhava–become; nistraiguṇyaḥ–transcendental to the three modes of material nature.

“O Arjuna, the Vedas deal with the three modes of material nature (by accommodating fruitive action and liberation as an allowance and incentive for persons who are ignorant of the true objective of the Vedas). But you, Arjuna, give up duality and all pursuits for gain and preservation, stand ever in the plane of truth, and by the yoga of wisdom, transcend the modes of nature.”
(The objective of the Vedas is transcendental. Without fruitive action or liberation, O Arjuna, follow the transcendental path of devotion to the Lord as taught by the Vedas.)

This verse is a wonderful meditation. I don’t think I have personally heard or seen Srila Gurudev or Param Gurudev quote this verse, though surely they did, just not so extensively, but I have seen Srila Swami Maharaj has quoted it several times in his purports, and I have also heard some of his disciples quote it so I think he put some emphasis on it. I feel it illuminates this key theme of Gita of transcending duality and becoming situated in absolute truth in a clear and concise way. The other day I was hearing a talk of Param Gurudev where he said that we can see that important points are repeated in Srimad Bhagavatam and also in Gita, and he mentioned as an example this teaching to ‘give up duality’. We see this point was also made in verse 2.38 which we came to last week (‘consider happiness and sadness, loss and gain, victory and defeat to be the same’.)

This verse is also helpful because it gives perspective and clarification of the different stages of truth which are presented in the Vedic literature.

 

Sunday 21 October 2018

ALL WORK, NO PAY, AND NO QUITTING 😊

BG 2.47

कर्म्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्म्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्म्मणि ॥४७॥

karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi [47]

te–Your; adhikāraḥ–right; eva karmaṇi–is to perform your prescribed duties; mā kadāchana (bhūḥ)–but never; phaleṣu–to the results. mā bhūḥ–Be neither; karma-phala-hetuḥ–motivated by the fruits of action; mā–nor; astu–may; akarmaṇi–non-performance of your prescribed duties; (bhūḥ)–be; te–your; saṅgaḥ–inclination. [47]

“Your right is to your work, never to the fruits. Be neither motivated by the fruit of action nor inclined to give up action.”

So, who will come to sign such a contract? 😊

This is a very important verse, quoted extensively by our Gurus, which describes the fundamental principle of karma-yoga and is also of fundamental application in the practice of bhakti.

This is an excerpt from Loving Search for the Lost Servant: (which is available for online reading here: https://premadharma.org/loving-search-for-the-lost-servant/)

Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita (2.47): “Give your full concentration to discharging your duty and not to the result of your work. The result is with Me; all responsibility is with Me.”

Higher calculation is like that. The generals say: “March! Go forward. Onward! You have to go. You are my soldiers; whatever I shall ask, you must do. You may die and the victory may come afterward; that is not your concern. You are soldiers; many of you may be finished, but the country as a whole will gain.” In this way, so many important lives may be sacrificed. And as soldiers, we have no right to calculate whether we shall gain or lose in the long run.

There are two things we must be very careful about. We shouldn’t think that if we can’t enjoy the fruits of our labour, then there is no reason to work. At the same time, we shouldn’t think that we must get some share of the fruits. Remembering this, we should go on discharging our duty to Krishna. That is devotion, and that is the meaning of Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita says: “You can’t change the environment. If you want peace, you must regulate yourself according to the environment.” The whole gist of Bhagavad-gita’s advice is found here: “Try to adjust yourself with the environment, because you are not the master of the environment. All your energy should be devoted to regulate yourself and not the outside world. This is the key to success in spiritual life.”

Question: Pranam Didi 🙏🙏 In this verse it’s mentioned that we should try to adjust with the environment and all the energy should be devoted to regulate ourselves and not the outside world. In reference to this I understand that the association we keep also has an effect on us. So is it that to regulate ourselves we should associate with people having higher consciousness??

Answer: Pranams.
Yes, you have hit the nail on the head.
It is of utmost importance that we have sadhu-sanga in one form or another.
Our most dire necessity is to acquire the proper angle of vision, and we are only suffering at present because of a lack of that–but how will we do so? The scriptures, the books can help us to a certain extent, but we really need a living guide who can advise us in a practical way, who can instruct us by their example, and who can bestow their specific grace and blessings upon us.
So in a very living and practical way the Vaishnavas can inform and guide our angle of view, the perspective with which we view the environment and adjust ourselves accordingly.
It is very rare that we can have the association of a perfect Vaishnava, but as much as possible we should try to keep the company of those who have accepted the same ideal at heart as we have, and in this way we can encourage and remind one another. And if we can have the company of one whom we consider to be more advanced than us on the path, even better.
In some circumstances we are unable to have positive physical association–in those cases the books become more important. But nowadays with the advance of modern technology, sadhu-sanga has become much more accessible.
Ultimately association is not a matter of physical proximity, but it takes place on the level of consciousness. Personally, the most important association I have in my life is my Gurudev’s, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami. He left this world over eight years ago now, but I feel his presence in a very bright and living way, sometimes in a more direct and personal way, sometimes through his faithful followers, and sometimes through various circumstances in the environment.
I hope this answers your question. It is a deep subject matter and I am just skimming the surface here.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Continuing with chapter two:

FREE SERVICE & FREE GRACE

योगस्थः कुरु कर्म्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय ।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ॥४८॥

yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya
siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga uchyate [48]

(he) dhanañjaya–O Arjuna; yoga-sthaḥ–stand in yoga; tyaktvā–giving up; saṅgam–ego; samaḥ bhūtvā–and being equipoised; siddhi-asiddhyoḥ–in success and failure; kuru–do; karmāṇi–your duties; (yataḥ)–as; samatvam–such equanimity; uchyate–is called; yogaḥ–yoga.

“O Dhanañjaya, give up the ego that you are the doer, and be equipoised in success and failure. Thus stand firm in the plane of yoga and do your prescribed duties. Such a state of balance is indeed known as yoga.”

दूरेण ह्यवरं कर्म्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय ।
बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फलहेतवः ॥४९॥

dūreṇa hy avaraṁ karma buddhi-yogād dhanañjaya
buddhau śaraṇam anvichchha kṛpaṇāḥ phala-hetavaḥ [49]

(he) dhanañjaya–O Dhanañjaya; karma hi–action alone; dūreṇa avaram–is far inferior; buddhi-yogāt–to the yoga of wisdom; (ataḥ)–therefore; anvichchha–seek; śaraṇam–refuge; buddhau–in the wisdom of equanimity. phala-hetavaḥ–Those motivated by the fruits of their actions; kṛpaṇāḥ–are misers.

“O Dhanañjaya, (fruitive) action is far inferior to this yoga of wisdom; those motivated by the fruits of their actions are misers. Therefore, seek refuge in the selfless wisdom of equanimity.”

These are not major verses and I haven’t personally learned them but they illuminate the previous verse (2.47) and are a happy meditation.

The Vaishnavas live and move in this very free spirit of offering free service to the Lord and the environment. They are living wholly in the consciousness of concentrated giving without attaching themselves to any particular result. As expressed in these verses, krpanah phala-hetavah, from a higher perspective this is considered to be miserly. In other words, to think one plus one equals two, or ‘I am doing this and expecting a particular result, and I own that result’ is a miserly mentality.

In this world we are accustomed to the transaction of ‘work and pay’ but in the divine world it is the opposite. The only transaction is service and grace. Free service, and free grace. This is a little long, but Param Gurudev elaborates on this theme quite wonderfully, please take the time to read it when you can: https://premadharma.org/the-land-of-earnestness/
If we can enter into such a consciousness, even momentarily, we will find it to be very liberating. My only duty is to do good, to dedicate, whatever may come as a result. And if the Lord and the Vaishnavas choose to grace me according to their free will, that is my good fortune.

It also liberates us from any ill feeling towards others who may behave in a negative way. Gurudev told of an incident when he stopped some thieves from stealing some banana leaves from the Math. They told him they would come again to steal them when he was away, and Srila Gurudev replied happily, “Very good! Your duty is to steal, and my duty is to protect.”

This is also part of the conception of amanina manadena in the third verse of Siksastakam (offering respect to others without expecting any in return): we should think that everyone else is already is already doing their duty properly, it is only necessary for us to do ours better. We should not expect more from others or judge others. Param Gurudev has made this comment.
Also in these verses we find a very helpful definition of yoga: samatvam yoga uchyate. What is yoga? It is a state of equanimity, inner poise, being fixed in higher truth, amidst the chaotic duality of this world.

Thursday 25 November

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

BG 2.52

यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति ।
तदा गन्तासि निर्व्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च ॥५२॥

yadā te moha-kalilaṁ buddhir vyatitariṣyati
tadā gantāsi nirvedaṁ śrotavyasya śrutasya cha [52]

yadā–When; te–your; buddhiḥ–intelligence; vyatitariṣyati–overcomes; moha-kalilam–the strong illusion (of bodily identification); tadā–then; (tvam) gantāsi–you will attain; nirvedam–indifference; śrotavyasya–of all to be heard; śrutasya cha–and already heard.

“When your intelligence fully emerges from the dense forest of illusion, you will be indifferent to all that has been heard or is yet to be heard.”

Not a major verse, and not one I’ve learned, but very inspiring. At present so many things pertaining to this illusory, worldly, concocted plane attract us, engage us, trouble us, and so on and so forth, but if we can once contact the reality of the higher plane, it will all become meaningless and vanish in a puff of smoke. What he said, she said, they did, etc., etc., will all become utterly trivial. We really won’t care. We can look at children and see how so many superficial things, ridiculous things, engage them in various ways, and can seem of utmost importance to them (“That’s *my* toy!”), and we can think back to our own young years when such things also engaged us. Yet now, compared to our current level of development and understanding, it appears to be madness.

Guru and Vaishnava look upon *us* in the same way. Engaged in the pursuits of body, mind, intellect, devoid of consciousness of our real existence as soul, we appear like mad zombies. One of Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad’s personal servants told us that once in an airport with him, as he was standing at one point and surveying the masses of people rushing past in different directions, he commented, “I only see so many cadavers.”

So Guru and Vaishnava are trying to give us that vision. The sacred thread ceremony, initiation which brahmins go through, is traditionally referred to ‘upanayan’ meaning ‘new eyes’, ‘new vision’. So the sadhus are trying to give us a real acquaintance with our environment, ourselves, and our higher prospect.

Question: My obeisance, I was always concerned about this verse. What he she, they said…I have a real dream to be aloof from these. But lately I thougth this verse was only in relation to the flourished karma-kanda section of the Vedas.

Answer: The Gita can be read on many different levels, and we have seen that our Gurus have approached the Gita with this broad spirit. For example many verses are explicitly speaking of karma or jnan, but our Gurus apply to the practice of bhakti. Sometimes this can make things confusing!

In regards to this verse, certainly what you’ve said is correct in that different sections of the Vedas are being referred to, but in line with how we have seen our Gurus approach the text, I feel this more broad principle can also be extracted from here. I didn’t mention this standard purport simply because I don’t feel it is so relevant to our devotional family of practitioners, especially the Western section 🙏

Question: Pranam Didi 🙏🙏 In this verse I also do understand that if we are engaged in loving service of Lord Krishna then the material world becomes an illusion and whatever religious paraphernalia is recommended in veda and Upanishads doesn’t need to be executed because we are as it is engaged consciously in the service of Lord due to our service to Him. Please guide me if I am in the right direction of understanding this verse.

Answer: Pranam. It is not exactly that the material world will become an illusion, but we will become indifferent and detached from anything not pertaining to the fundamental current of devotion.

Vedic duties: one who attends to the absolute call, to their absolute duty, becomes excused from lower, relative duties. As an example: a soldier who attends to the call of his country to fight some cause which is supposed to be for the good of the nation, the whole, will become excused from some duties which are normally imposed on society members. They will get some special benefits, special passes to certain things, their family will be provided for, etc.

Monday 29 October 2018

HIGHER TASTE
BG 2.59

विषया विनिवर्त्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।
रसवर्ज्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्त्तते ॥५९॥
viṣayā vinivartante nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ’py asya paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate [59]

dehinaḥ–For the embodied; nirāhārasya–who restricts the senses; viṣayāḥ–the objects of the senses; vinivartante–recede; rasa-varjam–but not the taste to enjoy them. rasaḥ api–But even the taste; nivartate–disappears; asya–for the man of wisdom; dṛṣṭvā–by the vision; param–of the Supreme.

“The embodied being may renounce the sense objects, but the taste for them remains. But that, too, vanishes for the man of wisdom, by his vision of the Supreme.”

This is of course a very famous and important verse, and even if you don’t know the Sanskrit verse no doubt you have all heard its purport. We can artificially detach ourselves from various things of this world, but until and unless we can awaken the natural tendency of the soul for service in devotion, we will eventually become again troubled by lower tendencies and attraction.

This is why in our spiritual practice our Gurus have always put more importance on positive engagement as opposed to mere withdrawal from the negative. In the course of cultivating our affinity for the positive side, attachment for the negative side will automatically withdraw. Actually, whatever material tendencies and attachments we have are very, very negligible beside the fundamental current of bhakti. If there is a spark of real sraddha, real faith, real taste for the original, fundamental current of Krishna consciousness, that will gradually grow and eventually eclipse everything else.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj:

My taste for real God consciousness, Krishna consciousness, is the most valuable thing. That taste will take me upward and everything else will go away in no time.
Mahaprabhu says, “Here it is, this is the beginning.” From other stages we can fall back, but if we have got real taste in real Krishna consciousness we are safe. Eho haya, āge kaha āra: “Yes, it is. It is the real beginning of the real life of a real devotee.” It is here. The disciple has real taste and he is fortunate enough to have real relation with real God consciousness. All other qualifications and non-qualifications are ignored.

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta, jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ

Now faith has given shelter to this disciple and he is safe. Faith has begun in its original form, its real form here, above calculation. Calculation, using our knowledge to draw a comparison of the goodness of this world and that world, is a very weak thing and not truly reliable, but faith is real, faith has got its real characteristic, and here Mahaprabhu sanctioned, “Yes, here it begins. The life of a devotee proper begins here. Yes, cross the line of danger, of maya.”

Excerpt from Golden Volcano of Divine Love:

Being satisfied, the heart will say: “This is what I was searching for!” Then, the brain will follow, thinking: “Yes, there can be no doubt, this is the highest goal of our search. Dissolve everything else.” The heart will say: “I have attained prema, divine love – this is the highest thing! Stop all works from now on.” Then, karma will close all its workshops. After coming in contact with Krishna consciousness, the first result is that the heart awakens. When the heart is captured, the brain approves, and our karma, energising in the wrong direction, stops. Krishna consciousness is the real wealth of the heart.

Question: Can you please help me to understand better this concept? “This is why in our spiritual practice our Gurus have always put more importance on positive engagement as opposed to mere withdrawal from the negative.”

Answer: We find two main paths of spiritual progress presented in the Vedic literature: one is called ‘aroha pantha’ or the ‘ascending line’ and ‘avaroha pantha’ or ‘ascending path’. ‘Ascending’ here refers to those trying to become free from samsara and elevate themselves through their own endeavour, their own practices and effort. So the practices of yoga, meditation, cultivation of jnana, and so on go under this category. Such persons can indeed elevate themselves and become free from their material attachments through their rigorous practices.

However, according to the vision of the Bhagavat, all this achieves is a state of temporary repression. One example is given in Bhagavatam of removing the surface part of growing weeds without taking up the root: obviously they are going to grow again. Until the root disease of selfishness is removed, and the positive mood of devotion is awakened, these issues will again and again rise up and entangle us. So these practices can help us achieve liberation, but ultimately it will be a temporary state; and furthermore, the liberation achieved is only from the negative side: entrance in the positive side, the eternal, dynamic spiritual plane, is not achieved through these methods. That is only possible through the spirit of dedication which is the foundation of the eternal world, and receiving the grace of the residents of that land (we have no ‘right’ to enter; so it can only be on grace that we do).

On the other hand, the avaroha pantha is focused on the mood of depending on descending grace. The cultivation of humility, surrender, devotion, and dependency on higher grace are intrinsic to this path. And the emphasis here is not on negation, becoming free from something negative, but rather attaining entrance into something positive and awakening something positive within ourselves. And that ‘something positive’ is so wonderful that it will naturally attract us away from any negative habits and attachments we may have.

This is a principle we see everywhere in life: if a child is playing with something they shouldn’t, say some matches, it is insufficient to just remove the matches from their hands and chastise them. Rather the intelligent thing to do is replace the matches with something else they can focus their energy on.

It is unnatural for us to ‘not do’ or to avoid or repress something. It is all about proper engagement and utilization of our natural tendencies. Krishna consciousness is so all-inclusive and all-accommodating in that almost everything can be properly engaged and utilized.

Finally, to love the Lord is so fundamental and intrinsic to us, so once that is awakened it must supercede everything else. In the rise of attachment to a higher thing, detachment from lower things will automatically follow. So if we see someone has some awakening of real faith, why should we give much attention to whatever material tendencies they may have? That fundamental wave of bhakti is so powerful it can easily clear anything on the negative side. And that is real. Any negativity is unsubstantial, temporary, based on illusion. Like mushrooms growing in the soil—they have very superficial roots and can easily be cleared away.

To sum this all up, there is a famous verse in Srimad Bhagavatam (1.6.35):

yamādibhir yoga-pathaiḥ kāma-lobha-hato muhuḥ
mukunda-sevayā yadvat tathātmāddhā na śāmyati

“The agitated mind, repeatedly taken captive by its enemy in the form of depravity rooted in lust and greed, is directly mastered by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mukunda. It can never be likewise checked or pacified by practising the eightfold yogic discipline, which is generally based on sensual and mental repression [yama, niyama, and so on].”

I hope this clears things up for you. If anything is still unclear, please don’t hesitate to ask.

1 November 2018

THE PATH TO DESTRUCTION

BG 2.62

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते ।
सङ्गात्सञ्जायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥६२॥

dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate [62]

dhyāyataḥ–(Otherwise, without devotion, renunciation alone fails:) By thinking of; viṣayān–the objects of the senses; puṁsaḥ–a person’s; saṅgaḥ–attachment; teṣu–to them; upajāyate–is born. saṅgāt–From attachment; kāmaḥ–desire; sañjāyate–is born. kāmāt–From desire; krodhaḥ–anger; abhijāyate–arises.

“But one whose thoughts dwell on the objects of the senses becomes attached to them. From attachment, desire is born, and from desire, anger arises.”

This is not a majorly quoted verse and not one I’ve memorized or probably ever will, but the meaning is very helpful for us. The verse previous to this one describes the characteristic of the ‘sthita prajna’ (person of fixed mind) of having firmly established wisdom and controlled senses due to their devotion to the Lord. By contrast, here it is described the sequence which takes place when our senses are not controlled: due to uncontrolled senses one unnecessarily contemplates various objects of the senses; through that contemplation attachment arises; through that attachment desire to enjoy those things is born; and when there is some obstruction in fulfilling that desire (which invariably does happen because we cannot control the environment!) anger is born as a result. A helpful sequence to remember for self-reflection. Krishna speaks on this point again later in verse 3.37.

One general principle which can be extracted from this verse is that our desires tend to form according to our association and environment: ‘sangat sanjayate kama’. A very obvious example of this is relationships which develop between men and women, simply because of physical proximity. This is a tendency which we can use in our favour, however, by keeping positive association and a devotionally conducive environment (even if it’s as simple as keeping a picture of your Guru on the wall for daily remembrance) as much as possible.

Question: Pranaam Didi 🙏🙏 As per my understanding in this verse the basic cause of uncontrolled senses are the thoughts dwelling on the objects of sense gratification. But if an individual is habituated of dwelling on objects of senses for a long period of time and finds it difficult to divert his/her thoughts towards positivity, moreover if the person realises his/her fault and wants to change the thought process with positive association and has a guilt feeling for the past action of sense gratification, then how can he/she can approach and have a positive association for pure thought process??? 🙏🙏

Answer: The cause of uncontrolled senses is our entanglement with maya since time immemorial. Uncontrolled senses leads to unnecessary contemplation of the sense objects.
As for your question, I think it is answered in the answer I gave to Barbara and indeed in the discussion of the last verse. We need positive engagement. We need to engage in the practices of devotion: hearing, chanting, sadhu-sanga, Vaishnava seva, and so on. We need to become active in our practices. That will eventually override all other ‘non-Krishna’ tendencies within us. We need to develop ‘higher taste’ through positively engaging our mind, senses, and body in positive engagement as much as possible.
As for feelings of guilt, that is just a part of our ego. It is due to pride that we want to be perfect. We have to accept the fact that we are very imperfect and it’s ok and normal to make mistakes. Did you watch that short video I posted ‘You are going to be humiliated, and it’s okay’? I think that addresses some of the issues you bring up here.
Whatever we are right now, we need to surrender in a naked way. And we must be positive and optimistic because we are dependent on higher grace. With that grace anything is possible. We must look to tomorrow with hope and not waste our time crying over yesterday. We need to be ‘pro-active’. We are like babies learning to walk, and falling down or tripping sometimes is all part of the process. In this way we need to keep the progressive mentality of a student learning their lessons.

Monday 5 November

AWAKE IN THE WORLD OF MISCONCEPTION

या निशा सर्व्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्त्ति संयमी ।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः ॥६९॥

yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī
yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni sā niśā paśyato muneḥ [69]

sarva-bhūtānām yā niśā–That which is night for all living beings (who, immersed in ignorance, remain asleep to spiritual knowledge); tasyām–in that night; saṁyamī–the self-disciplined person; jāgarti–remains awake (joyful in his spiritual intelligence). yasyām–That (mundane intelligence) in which; bhūtāni–all living beings; jāgrati–remain awake (experience the pleasures and pains, sorrows and delusions of worldly life); sā–such (mundane intelligence) is; niśā–night; muneḥ–for the sage; paśyataḥ–who sees (the futility of mundane endeavours and remains indifferent to the dualities).

“That which is day for the self-controlled sage is night for all beings, and that which is day for all beings is night for the sage who sees. (The living beings absorbed in mundane life are asleep to the spiritual joy of the realised soul, who remains indifferent to their quest for the pleasures of the senses, devoid of spiritual joy.)”

Dandabat pranams to all. Coming to the end of chapter two, we’ve come to this very important and helpful verse, quoted again and again by our Gurus. It’s definitely a good one to learn if you want to learn some slokas.

We are awake and busy on the cover of things, but there is a whole world of substance beneath that which we are blind to. Similarly the wise are awake and busy on the substantial side and our whole world of experience is very remote and distant to them. Our fortune is that we had the association of our Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, and he demonstrated the tangible nature of that higher plane, as well as the unsubstantiality of all the things that currently absorb us so much. In his presence we felt our whole world of experience would become very remote, and a doorway to a new world, a higher world, opened. Param Gurudev has mentioned how Mahaprabhu kindly showed us, through his behavior and practices, the sweetness and charm of one living in connection and awareness of that ‘internal plane of reality’, and similarly we appreciate in the example of our Gurus how they have shown us the dignity, joy, and substantiality of such a life based on higher faith—and thereby attracted us to try to lead such a life also.

I am including below a commentary of our Param Gurudev Srila Sridhar Maharaj on this verse:

Srila Sridhar Maharaj (excerpt from Sermons Vol 1):

“Some persons are awake in the world of experience. Their day is the world of experience and their night is the soul’s world, God’s world. And another class of men are wakeful in the soul’s world and are sleeping in this world of experience. This world is darkness to them, and they are quite awake in the world of faith. They find that the world of faith is a permanent world. The soul, however tiny, has a substantial position in eternity; it is an eternal factor in the world of faith. There, we shall find: ‘Whatever I see is eternal. Nothing will be effaced at any time. I am a member of the world of reality, and through faith I can reach such a subtle plane that never dies or changes. There is such a subtle, higher plane, and my soul is a member of that plane.’

The soul is wakeful there and is asleep in this world of experience, having no connection with it. And the man of the world of experience with flesh and blood, he is wakeful here, whereas that real world–the soul world–is like dark night to him. In our present condition it may seem almost non-existent, but such a plane is the substantial eternal reality. Its existence supersedes all. All may vanish, but faith stands forever.”

 

Saturday 10 November

LIKE RIVERS ENTERING THE OCEAN
BG 2.70
आपूर्य्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं
समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् ।
तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्व्वे
स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी ॥७०॥

āpūryamāṇam achala-pratiṣṭhaṁ
samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve
sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī [70]

yadvat–As; āpaḥ–water; praviśanti–enters; samudram–the ocean; āpūryamāṇam–which is always full; achala-pratiṣṭham–it remains steady, its water never crossing the shore; tadvat–similar is; yam–that sage who; sarve kāmāḥ–all desires; praviśanti–enter to be enjoyed (for they cannot disturb his mind). saḥ–He alone; āpnoti–attains; śāntim–peace; (tu)–but; kāma-kāmī–a person who nurtures desires; na (tad āpnoti)–cannot achieve that. [70]

“As the ocean remains full and unchanged though many rivers and streams enter into it, the person of firmly established wisdom attains peace despite all desires entering him. But a person who nurtures desires cannot know peace.”

So we’ve come to the very last verse we will look at in chapter two. I simply want to share this nice commentary Srila Gurudev made once while sitting on the grounds of Narni Castle during his first visit to Italy in 1999. Gurudev was inspired to discuss it because someone happened to mention the ocean that is on the doorstep of our St Petersburg temple.
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āpūryamāṇam achala-pratiṣṭhaṁ
samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve
sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī

It is in Srimad Bhagavad-gita. Apuryamanam achala-pratistham: Everything is going to the ocean, all the rivers, all the wealth, and samudra [the ocean] is the same, as it is. He is never disturbed. Like that, all is wealth coming, all fame is coming, all women are coming, but he is not disturbed. And who is not disturbed by that is getting the peace in his heart: sa santim apnoti na kama-kami. But who wants, ‘this give me, that give me, that give me’ will never get any peace in their heart. Krishna said this in Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

And what is a miracle is that some of the devotees in Iran made a picture of this sloka by hand, by sewing. They gave it to me and it is over my door. I was surprised: why did they choose this sloka? They chose this sloka and engraved it and framed and gave it to me.

apuryamanam achala-pratistham
samudram apah pravisanti yadvat
tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve

All kinds of hankering may go to him, but he is not affected by that. Sa santim apnoti, he is getting relief and peace in his heart. But na kama kami, who has desire will not get that peace.
Krishna here is so great. No one can conceive the life of Krishna. If you will only realise the life of Krishna you will be surprised to see that. When necessary Krishna is very much detached, and when necessary he is very much attached.