When Adam and Eve were in a surrendered position, no labour was necessary. Everything was automatic. The soul, the spiritual, eternal body, does not require any food to maintain itself. There is no necessity of any addition from the outside to keep up the vitality there, in the surrendered life of the pure spiritual soul.
You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here
Satan’s opinion is that it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. But it is just the opposite: it is better to serve in heaven than to reign in hell. It is the opposite of the satanic doctrine. ‘Paradise Lost’: because they lost their faith in sharanagati, surrender, in the truth of surrender. That was disturbed, and they came to live with their freedom and free judgement; Adam and Eve had to come down to the world of calculation of one’s self, of one’s individual free will, of their own responsibility. Then they had to earn and eat, enjoy. We have come to the world of ‘earn and enjoy’. Earn and enjoy, labour and live. It is the world of labour and live.
There [in heaven], without labour, sustenance is to come. When Adam and Eve were in a surrendered position, no labour was necessary. Everything was automatic. The soul, the spiritual, eternal body, does not require any food to maintain itself. There is no necessity of any addition from the outside to keep up the vitality there, in the surrendered life of the pure spiritual soul. When free choice came, instead of the surrendered stage, then they had to enter the world of labour and live. And Satan was at the back, “Why are you a slave?” Srimad Bhagavat has discarded knowledge: “Don’t rely on your knowledge.” The fruit of the tree of knowledge was tasted by Eve first, and then Adam. The tree of knowledge is dangerous, and brought them down to the world of calculation here. But surrender brings one to the good man’s society, the higher society where there is no deception, no hypocrisy, no conspiracy. There, knowledge, calculation, good, bad, all these are meaningless there. There is an automatic flow of goodness in the atmosphere, and no doubt, no suspicion, no meanness to cheat one another. So there is no question of calculation.
That is in the lower part of Vaikuntha, and it is again higher in Goloka. In Goloka it is more beautiful, more loving, more sustaining, more sweet and ecstatic. We want to have practical faith in the charm of that sort of life. sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaranaṁ vraja
In the Bible there is the history of the fall, and ‘going up’ is not very expressively presented there. The son of God has come to take them again up there, and that is vague. The fall of Adam and Eve is very clear. But that one man is taken from this plane to that plane is not such a very explicit or clear history.
Who is there like Christ, that has such full faith in God’s land, God’s action, God’s goodness that they can treat the wealth, the prosperity, the charm of this world of enjoyment as something to trample under their feet? “I resign all covetable posts in this world, whatever they may be: a kingship, a leadership, a lover like Romeo, a beloved like Juliet. All are dismissed. I am ready to dismiss all these things, for some higher, mystic unknown, for a sweet, sweet life and a sweet, sweet home. I have finished with everything else.” Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj speaking on 2 January 1983, in Sri Nabadwip Dham. You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here
Photo: Domenico Cunego: The Original Sin and The Banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. After Michelangelo’s fresco.
They want to know how many hands Mahavishnu has, they want to know how many legs Nrsimhadev has, they want to know how Nrsimhadev is eating. They are reading so many big, big things somewhere, and someone is hearing, “Prabhupad said this, Prabhupad said that”; someone is telling, “This scripture said this, this scripture said that”—but nothing will come for my spiritual benefit!
The following response came in a very particular way: after patiently responding to repeated technical questions regarding the tatastha-sakti and the nature of the jiva’s fall to the material world, His Divine Grace suddenly segued into a discussion about the difficulty some devotees face with drugs and habits of intoxication, and how they can best overcome this. When a listener then asked Srila Gurudev for further advice on this point, Srila Gurudev responded with a strong reprimand on the knowledge-seeking attempt in devotional life—clearly speaking not to the immediate question at hand (which had really already been answered), but rather to the previous persons who had persisted in pressing His Divine Grace for details on the nature of the jiva’s fall.
Download mp3 audio Question: We are living in this Western society and more or less we are all like victims, prone to fall prey of the material environment. What is the remedy? We need some forceful advice, some stronger medicine, to help us become free of this. Srila Gurudev: It is difficult to give forceful advice. I can give that stronger medicine. I know that medicine, but I cannot give that. That is not only your question, it is my question to myself. I need to do good for my friends. Who is taking initiation from me is my disciple and I have responsibility for my disciples. I must try to give relief my disciples first. That is my duty.
The remedy is a very simple remedy, given by Srimad Bhagavat, and I can say it to whoever is under control of me. If he or she will follow me blindly then they will get the remedy. It is very simple. Krishna gave that method to the devotees, and Mahaprabhu Himself happily accepted that remedy. But if I shall say it [publicly] in the meeting no one will learn happily. No one will learn my teachings. My disciples will learn, because I am with them from the beginning; but I also have some general responsibility for others, and their prescription must be another prescription. But actually, the real prescription is what was given by Srimad Bhagavat, what was given by Mahaprabhu. That is the real prescription, but who will learn it, who will hear it, and who will follow it?
They want to know how many hands Mahavishnu has, they want to know how many legs Nrsimhadev has, they want to know how Nrsimhadev is eating. They are reading so many big, big things somewhere, and someone is hearing, “Prabhupad said this, Prabhupad said that”; someone is telling, “This scripture said this, this scripture said that”—but nothing will come for my spiritual benefit! We are publishing so many big, big books, showing our knowledge, “I am doing this, I am doing that”, but I am not taking any instruction from my instructor or any instruction from my friend.
I am living in the ‘higher plane’, that is the egoist temple. But it is first necessary to blast that egoist plane. jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti
This sloka is the remedy. Mahaprabhu gave this, and Mahaprabhu accepted this. sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaranaṁ vraja
Even this verse Mahaprabhu did not happily accept. If you read Ramananda Ray and Mahaprabhu’s conversation you will see.
It is not necessary to know everything. It is not necessary to make any confusion with any hazy matter. No benefit will come to us through that. Benefit will come if we are surrendered to the Lord, and not only surrendered, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
Mahaprabhu said, “Yes, this is some remedy.” We may have so much knowledge about Bhagavad-gita, about Bhagavat, about Veda, Vedanta, Upanisad, but what is the use of that?
Once a friend of my friend, a magistrate in Puri, was abusing our sampradaya, saying, “If someone has not read Govinda-bhasyam how can he be considered a sannyasi of the sampradaya?” I was very disturbed. In my house he was abusing the Vaishnava sannyasis and I could not tolerate it. I came out from my room and told him, “Oh ‘Mr eligible person’, I read Govinda-bhasyam and how many hands do you see on me? How much hands have you seen on me? You read Govinda-bhasyam, and how many hands have you got? How many hands does your guru, who taught you Govinda-bhasyam, have? Has everyone got chatur-bhuj [a four-handed form]? How much progress have you made after reading Govinda-bhasya? You are a lawyer, you are dealing with material law, and illegally or legally you are doing that. How many hands have you got, that you can abuse the Vaishnavas?”
The fact is this: we may know everything of the scriptures but if we do not know how to swim we will drown in the river. That is the fact in front of us. I am initiating some persons: I want to give them the process through which they can gain liberation from this material world and join in the transcendental world. I am giving them the seeds of what I have heard and what I have received, along with my wellwishes, my blessings, and everything, and they will be promoted with that.
It is necessary to follow a real practising life, and that will come through tṛṇād api sunīchena [being more humble than a blade of grass], taror iva sahiṣṇunā [being tolerant like a tree], amāninā [not expecting respect], mānadena [giving respect].How much are we following that? We need to preach this to them first. Leave your egoistic tendency. jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti
Mahaprabhu said it. Srimad Bhagavat said it.
If we want a real practising life it is not necessary to read so many things. It is not necessary to know so many matters. Only how to swim, that is necessary to know! I want to cross the river. But we want to know, “Why is the sun coming out on the east side, and why is it setting on the west side, and why is the air flowing all over the world, why is this star giving that result, and why is that star giving that.” We are trying to collect so much knowledge but we are not trying to collect how to swim.
It is my advice to my friends who are depending upon me, “Be serious for your practising life.” It is not necessary to read so many things. I told you, those three books are sufficient: Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Brahma samhita, and Chaitanya-charitamrta. If someone is a preacher, then under guidance of his Guru, if necessary, he will try to preach something. But always with these three qualities of humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. Otherwise, the result will not come to us. Srila Gurudev speaking in Italy, August 1999, during the Fourteenth World Tour. Reference jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām (Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.14.3)
“In whatever position they may be, those who give up the endeavour for knowledge, surrender to the sadhus, and dedicate their lives bodily, verbally, and mentally to their talks of the Lord, can conquer the Lord, who is otherwise unconquerable.” Spoken by Srila Gurudev in Italy, August 1999, during His Divine Grace’s fourteenth world tour.
What are the waves of the infinite, what sort of wave will come to touch you from the infinite, the centre of infinite, of love, beauty? Wait and see. Be clear, open, unbiased.
For the satisfaction of Srila Gurudev and the Vaisnavas, we are happy to inaugurate this new series of excerpts from the talks of the Guardian of Devotion, our beloved grand-guru, His Divine Grace Sri Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Deva-Goswami.
Download mp3 audio. mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na chāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ na cha mat-sthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram (Srimad Bhagavad-gita 9.4–5)
“I am everywhere, everything is in Me; I am nowhere, nothing is in Me. I am not a madman. Try to have an estimation of Myself, Arjuna, what am I.” Has such a bold statement ever come in the world of philosophy? (Chuckling) “I am everywhere, I am nowhere, everything in Me, nothing in Me. Try to ascertain, what am I. This sort of straight, simple, and most perplexing, and impossible possible together. I am there.”
So, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
Give up your attempt of measuring Him, but through faith try to approach. You are finite, so how much faith may you have about infinite? Very little. So don’t think that you will be deceived, that your faith will deceive you. You are a teeny person; what is the length and breadth of your faith? In the infinite anything is possible. So don’t be afraid of your blind faith when you come in the search of Krishna, infinite. Only faith can take you there, and no knowledge. It is clearly stated in Bhagavatam. Never approach with the instrument of knowledge. That will deceive you. But through faith Adhoksaja can come down. And if you doubt He may not care to come down to you.
Open, spread wide your heart to receive Him, and prepare yourself for what sort of wonderful lila He may come to show you. Be so much broad. And wait. What are the waves of the infinite, what sort of wave will come to touch you from the infinite, the centre of infinite, of love, beauty? Wait and see. Be clear, open, unbiased. Don’t go to measure with your teeny examples from this finite world of nasty nature. tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalam
Only your hankering can help you to have a touch of that magnanimous divine thing. If you go to challenge He will not care to come. What is the loss to Him? You are deceived. Go forward with your heart within. jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ
Brahma says “jānanta eva jānantu, those that say they know something, let them enjoy self-deception thereby, but manaso vapuṣo vācho vaibhavaṁ tava go-charaḥ, I could not enter into the very negligent slight point of your acquaintance. This is my finding.” Brahma says like that. “Those puffed up fools, they may talk about anything, they can know this, they can know that, everything can be known, let those fools dance with their foolish tendency. But I am sure that no instrument can have any slight touch of Him.” He is always new, always new, of new characteristic. He is infinite. Finite and infinite are of opposite character.
When we went to preach in Karachi the Arya Samaj thought, “We have got a prey, Vaisnavas are idolaters.” The president came to attack, and he told me, “If the finite can know the infinite then He is not infinite.” It came to my mind immediately, “If infinite cannot make Himself known to finite then He is not infinite.” Just opposite. He made a handshake, “Namaste.”
That is only our solace, that the infinite can make Himself known to the finite. And finite cannot know infinite. So we always foster that characteristic of the infinite, His grace. That should be our fare, our attitude. We have come not to deal with a limited thing. My aspiration is not so base, and mean. I have come in the relativity of the infinite so my behaviour must be according to that. tṛṇād api su-nīchena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
The negative tendency should be increased to attract the positive. “I can’t stay without Your least connection.” With that we have to invite him. “I am din and poor and mean, I am so and so, the meanest fellow, there is no one meaner than myself.” That is the way.
Our Prabhupad used to give an example: in a fair it is seen that a bamboo post is there and it is smeared with oil and ripe plaintain fruit, so it is very slippery; and there is a man on the side who says that if one can climb up he will be given such a reward. And everyone, wherever he catches the pole, he comes down. He cannot go up. The aroha pantha [ascending path] is like that. We cannot go up. It is slippery. We can come down, but we cannot go up.
So we are brave enough to deal with such a thing, we have such audacity. But still the position is there, that it is possible by His grace, the line of His grace; He wants to distribute Himself in a particular line: srauta pantha, guru paramparya. Our necessity is exclusively there with the srauta paramparya, guru paramparya. The knowledge, and the bhajan, everything comes down from infinite to finite and never aroha pantha, from finite to infinite. That should always be the backbone of our movement. So whatever we shall go to do we shall look up to Gurudev, “If you do, it may be done. I have nothing, I am nowhere Sir, I am nowhere.”
Once I found in the history of Ramanuja that he had a sitting with a mayavadi pandit for fourteen days and could not defeat him; he came frustrated to Varadaraja [Deity of Lord Vishnu worshipped in South India], “What am I, I can’t defeat in discussion. For so many days I am trying to argue, but I am nothing, nowhere. I should not go on with my head erect as an acharya of the sampradaya.” He prayed at Varadaraja’s temple. And the next day, no sooner had he begun a slight talk, than that gentleman expressed his defeat. He clearly showed, “Yes, I have understood what you have said. I am wrong, and what you say is right.” Easily that man was defeated.
So, devotees are always expectant upward, “By Guru’s will: I have got nothing. Nothing. He may do through me. If I go to assert myself I shall not only be defeated, but I shall also be lost. But when I shall go to show even a proud attitude in the name of my Guru, and sincerely, then it will be bhajan. It will help me and others also.” The tendency will be to take power from above; the attempt of the acharyas will always be to bring things from above, from their guru. “By your grace.” Always dependent. He can never say, “I am in possession of the potency, power.” No. jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha
[“I am more sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi and even lower than the worms in the stool.”] mora nāma śune yei tāra puṇya kṣaya
mora nāma laya yei tāra pāpa haya (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 1.5.205-6)
[“Anyone who hears my name loses the results of his pious activities. Anyone who utters my name becomes sinful.”]
The conception of the ego of the negativity is so intense. “I am such. But Nityananda Prabhu is great, He is patita-pavan, and so I have got.” ye yathā patita haya tava dayā tathodaya tathā āmi supātra dayā
“I can claim because I am the most fallen. I think I realise that I am the most fallen. I have got the greatest claim for your grace, mercy.” That should be the attitude of a real devotee. As mean as one conceives, has a conception of himself, so great he is in the eye of the devotees. Dainya. Hankering, laulyam, hankering, arti, that is their wealth, the wealth of the devotees, it is there. “I am proud of the power of my Gurudev and never of myself.” That should be the attitude of the devotee. Spoken by Srila Param Guru Maharaj, 28 February 1981, Sri Nabadwip Dham.