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.