Lecture: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6
Sydney, Australia (11 December 2005)
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya . . .
Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, “Creation,” Chapter Number Two, “Divinity and Divine Service,” Text Number Six:
The supreme occupation (dharma) for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.
Purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:
In this statement, Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī answers the first question of the sages of Naimiṣāraṇya. The sages asked him to summarize the whole range of revealed scriptures and present the most essential part so that fallen people or the people in general might easily take it up. The Vedas prescribe two different types of occupation for the human being. One is called the pravṛtti-mārga, or the path of sense enjoyment, and the other is called the nivṛtti-mārga, or the path of renunciation. The path of enjoyment is inferior, and the path of sacrifice for the supreme cause is superior. The material existence of the living being is a diseased condition of actual life. Actual life is spiritual existence, or brahma-bhūta existence, where life is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge. Material existence is temporary, illusory and full of miseries. There is no happiness at all. There is just the futile attempt to get rid of the miseries, and temporary cessation of misery is falsely called happiness. Therefore, the path of progressive material enjoyment, which is temporary, miserable and illusory, is inferior. But devotional service to the Supreme Lord, which leads one to eternal, blissful and all-cognizant life, is called the superior quality of occupation. This is sometimes polluted when mixed with the inferior quality. For example, adoption of devotional service for material gain is certainly an obstruction to the progressive path of renunciation. Renunciation or abnegation for ultimate good is certainly a better occupation than enjoyment in the diseased condition of life. Such enjoyment only aggravates the symptoms of disease and increases its duration. Therefore devotional service to the Lord must be pure in quality, i.e., without the least desire for material enjoyment. One should, therefore, accept the superior quality of occupation in the form of the devotional service of the Lord without any tinge of unnecessary desire, fruitive action and philosophical speculation. This alone can lead one to perpetual solace in His service.
We have purposely denoted dharma as occupation because the root meaning of the word dharma is "that which sustains one's existence." A living being's sustenance of existence is to coordinate his activities with his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the central pivot of living beings, and He is the all-attractive living entity or eternal form amongst all other living beings or eternal forms. Each and every living being has his eternal form in the spiritual existence, and Kṛṣṇa is the eternal attraction for all of them.
Sometimes people say that we actually originated in the brahmajyoti, in a formless condition, and the now we’ve come here and gotten a material form, and now we [have the opportunity to] get a spiritual form. That philosophy is negated by this statement from Srila Prabhupada. “Each and every living being has his eternal form in the spiritual existence.” We were mentioning this last night in the lecture also.
[back to purport]
Kṛṣṇa is the complete whole, and everything else is His part and parcel. The relation is one of the servant and the served. It is transcendental and is completely distinct from our experience in material existence. This relation of servant and the served is the most congenial form of intimacy. One can realize it as devotional service progresses. Everyone should engage himself in that transcendental loving service of the Lord, even in the present conditional state of material existence. That will gradually give one the clue to actual life and please him to complete satisfaction.
om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
“Please him to complete satisfaction.” Do you want complete satisfaction? Do you want no satisfaction, partial satisfaction or complete satisfaction? What’s your choice? Complete. If you want complete satisfaction, then you must come to pure, unalloyed bhakti. We heard this argument the other night, “Well, it’s not possible to achieve pure devotional service – or if it is, then not in this lifetime.” We might not achieve pure devotional service in this lifetime, but to say that it’s impossible is not true. We should endeavor for it. To the best of our capability we should endeavor for pure devotional service because without it we cannot be completely satisfied.
Sometimes, as Prabhupada points out here, one takes to devotional service with material desires. Let’s see how he states it – he says: “For example, adoption of devotional service for material gain is certainly an obstruction to the path of renunciation.” Elsewhere Prabhupada mentions engaging in devotional service in exchange for material power – thinking, “I can move into this organization, move up the ladder and become a powerful leader” and in that way gratify a desire for material power. Sometimes Krishna will allow someone to do that to give them a chance to become purified and do a lot of service. But if one maintains such a desire, then sooner or later he will lose everything . . . because the goal is to become a pure devotee. That’s what this movement is for: to create persons who are pure devotees. That’s what ISKCON is all about. So we should be very careful that we are absolutely pure in our desire and that we have no agenda. No personal agenda, no political agenda - that we simply want to become pure devotees, that’s all, with no other agenda . . . “I want to fully surrender myself to Lord Sri Krishna; to give my whole life to serve Prabhupada’s mission in whatever way I can best serve his mission” – in this way. Not “I have to have this, I have to have that.” No. Simply, “How can I best serve the mission of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” That’s all.
This mood of being completely detached and totally dedicated to doing whatever will best serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission, Lord Caitanya’s mission – when you come to this position of pure consciousness there is no anxiety. As long as you have some material agenda that you maybe trying to get in exchange for your devotional service – something you might get or might not get – that will always be a cause of anxiety. Even if you get it, it will still be in a feverish condition of mind, because you might lose it. No material arrangement can actually satisfy the living being anyway. The only thing that can really satisfy us is this ahaituki bhakti, unalloyed devotional service. It’s such an important concept - that we have not motives for our devotional service. Prabhupada often quotes the second half of this verse. Ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati: the devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to satisfy the self.
It’s interesting to note that unless it is unmotivated – in other words, if there’s any material motive for doing our service - it will be broken, interrupted. If it’s going to be apratihata, unbroken, twenty-four hours a day, then it has to be unmotivated also. If I have some motive for doing devotional service, then I can’t remain twenty-four hours a day in that service - I have to think about my material desires also. So these two things go hand in hand: ahaituky apratihata. They go together. If you’re unmotivated, you’ll be uninterrupted; if you’re uninterrupted, you must be unmotivated – otherwise, how could you be uninterrupted? If you have any material motive you won’t get the taste that will enable you to go on twenty-four hours a day engaging in devotional service. But if you have no ulterior motives – you simply want to serve Lord Sri Krishna, with no other motive present – then you can relish the sweetest nectar at every minute. We should simply want to be servants of Guru, servants of Krishna and servants of the Vaisnavas. We should have no agenda of our own that we want to bring forward; we should just want to serve, that’s all. This is the way in which you can become supremely happy, totally free of anxiety.
I remember seeing different moods in our movement sometimes. One devotee was visiting our Atlanta temple. He’d come from New York; he’d had something to do there, I don’t know what. He was complaining, “I’m getting zero cooperation from the temple president!” (This person is no longer a part of ISKCON, actually.) This is not the proper attitude. We are meant to cooperate with those persons who are in the leadership positions – we are meant to cooperate with them. That’s how an organization works. Any organization. It’s just like working in a company and saying, “The boss doesn’t cooperate with me!” What kind of attitude is that? That would get you fired right away, wouldn’t it? “The boss doesn’t cooperate with me!” That means you’re trying to put yourself as the boss when you’re not in that position. There is a certain leadership structure that Prabhupada gave us. There’s the GBC, the temple presidents to our Society. We are meant to work within that structure, to take our subordinate role to our higher authorities. Prabhupada trained me that way: to do whatever the temple president says, without question, whether it’s right or wrong. Of course, if he were to say we should start offering eggs to the Deity or something like that, that’s another matter. As long as he’s following the instructions in Prabhupada’s books then we have to cooperate. That’s our duty. So in this way we have to have no material motive, and just be humble servants. In this way our movement will be very strong and cohesive, in solidarity. If we can work together cooperatively, then we will we be very strong; if we’re splayed out - in this clique, that clique, with so many cliques doing their own programs - then this movement will not become the world leader that it’s meant to be by Prabhupada’s orders.
Consider this: The British were a very small number of people when they came to India. But they cooperated amongst themselves; they were a very tightly knit group. And because of that, even with a very small number of Britishers who were actually in India, they ruled the whole country. Millions of people were there, and a small handful of Britishers ruled over all of India. Why? Because of their very tightly knit cooperation and their subordination to the Queen. They all bowed down to the Queen and they all worked cooperatively within the structure that was given to them. So if we have that pure, unmotivated attitude within our Society, then we will be free of anxiety and this Society will actually capture the entire world. Everyone will come and participate in this movement. But it’s not going to happen unless we have this pure, unmotivated, uninterrupted spirit.
So this is our duty, our responsibility – that each and every one of us should be an ideal example of purity. All of our thoughts, all of our words and all of our deeds we should always strive to make 100% pure at every time, in every place and in every situation. The more we do that, the more we will be revolutionary. The impact that we will have on the atmosphere around us will be revolutionary to the extent that we are pure. It’s not by any other means. You may appear to have an impact by material expertise, but that impact will not stay. But actual purity – complete submission to the orders of the spiritual master – will bring the tidal wave of the love of God predicted by Krsnadasa Kaviraja. So this verse is very important. Ahaituki bhakti. It’s such an important concept that I named one of my disciples Ahaituki Bhakti devi dasi. It’s a very important principle. Ahaituki bhakti: without any motivation; simply to satisfy Krishna. Even Lord Jesus prays the same way. He says, “Father, may this cup pass from me; but not my will, but thy will be done.” He was foreseeing his imminent crucifixion; he knew what was coming, and he was thinking, “May it not happen – but whatever You want. If You want me to be crucified, that’s all right; I’ll do it.” He was fully surrendered. “If You want me to be crucified, then okay, I’ll take it. Whatever you give me.” So we have to have this attitude of pure devotional service.
Actually, for someone who sees like this, in a very pure way, there is no such thing as a reverse condition. Every single situation is an impetus for increased attachment to Krishna. And the more you become attached to Krishna the more you relish the nectar of Krishna consciousness. So for one who is completely detached from material sense enjoyment, gross and subtle, every single moment is simply progressing deeper and deeper into the unlimited nectar of Krishna consciousness. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. It’s just like the astute businessman who always knows how to move his business forward. In all conditions of the market he is expanding his business. How? When the prices go up, he sells; when the prices go down, he buys. In this way, he’s always moving his business forward. It doesn’t matter what’s going on with the market. An expert sailor is another example. Did you know that according to certain laws of physics you can use the wind to sail into the wind? Look it up on the internet – just go into Google and type in, “sailing into the wind” – and you’ll be amazed. A sailor can sail anywhere. It doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing; with a certain type of sail you can sail directly into the wind - use the wind to sail into the wind. It’s amazing . . . so for an expert sailor, it doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing; he will achieve his desired direction. It is the same way for a transcendentalist. It doesn’t matter whether there’s a so-called ‘positive’ or so-called ‘reverse’ situation in this world; he utilizes everything to advance pure devotional service within his own heart and to promote it on this planet, for all living entities. To push forward this Krishna consciousness movement he utilizes every single circumstance. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance may be. He knows that art of how to utilize everything to push forward the Krishna consciousness movement for the re-spiritualization of this misdirected, impious, so-called civilization.
So we can ask now if there are any questions.
You’re speaking about unmotivated devotional service. If sometimes we receive small praise we can develop a sense of false prestige. What’s the best way to avoid that?
Prabhupada has the perfect answer for this. He would say, “I have no credit whatsoever for the amazing thing that has happened, this worldwide Krishna consciousness movement. But if I have any credit at all, it is that I strictly followed the orders of my Guru Maharaja.” So any time that anyone praises you, you can say, “Actually it is not my credit; it’s just that I’m following the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada, that’s all . . . so it’s all his credit, actually. I’m following the orders given in Srila Prabhupada’s books, and it is due to that that I have some success – it’s not that I have any great qualification.”
One should always realize that actually it’s Krishna Himself who is the hero of every episode. By His arrangement everything is happening. It’s just like Krishna told Arjuna in the Battle of Kuruksetra: “Actually, they are already killed by Me; now you fight the battle and get the credit.” Krishna is the one who actually deserves all the credit, but He would rather see His devotees glorified than He Himself being glorified, as confirmed in the Adi-Purana. Krishna wants His devotees to be glorified. It pleases Krishna to hear His devotees being glorified. Actually, He is the one who gets all the credit, but He doesn’t want it.
In transcendental circles, nobody wants the credit. If you give one devotee the credit, he’ll give it to his guru, who will in turn give it to his guru . . . it’s like nobody wants it; they just pass it to someone else, and finally you give the credit to Krishna and He passes it down the devotees. It just keeps going around. ‘The credit’ is very fluid commodity in Vaisnava circles. Everyone keeps passing it to someone else. No one wants to hold it. They hold it long enough to get a good grip and then pass it to someone else. So that’s the mood. We take the credit and then we pass it. We accept it because with devotees, to accept credit is to accept a gift. Words of praise are a gift, a verbal gift. So we accept that so the devotee will have an opportunity to render Vaisnava seva. At the same time, we don’t keep it; we pass it on because we also want to get credit of giving credit to the Vaisnavas and to Krishna. The more we can give credit, the more we get credit - that’s another way of seeing it. The more you can worship and praise the Vaisnavas, the more Krishna recognizes you.
You mentioned “complete satisfaction.” Sometimes when we say we want complete satisfaction do we really mean that? Complete satisfaction means you have to fully surrender, yet we live in the modern society where we have to work, where we have this commitment and that commitment – how can we make complete satisfaction and at the same time fulfill our -
Ah, yes, yes. How can you fulfill your material duties in the material world and at the same time be completely satisfied?
Well, one easy way to do it is to surrender fully to a bona fide spiritual master. And then you just do whatever he tells you to do, and thus whatever you are doing is a purely spiritual duty because you’re doing it on the order of your spiritual master. That’s an easy way – that’s the easiest way to do it. In that way you are no longer acting on the basis of your own material desires. If your spiritual master tells you to keep your job, or to continue studying or whatever you are doing in the material world, you are materially detached when you do that because it is an order received from the spiritual master. And you’re equally detached if he tells you to give up your job and go to Vrindavana and simply sit on the bank of the Yamuna; you could do that also. If you’re completely detached, and put yourself completely, with full faith, under the order of a bona fide spiritual master, then you can become totally satisfied, even if you’re working a job. Why? Because you’re doing it because your spiritual master told you to, and you’re willing to give it up in a minute if he tells you to. That complete surrender to the spiritual master is the actual key. “I’ll do whatever Guru Maharaja orders me to do” – that’s all; completely detached. That will give you complete satisfaction. It doesn’t matter if he tells you to work a job, go to school, go open a preaching center in Tibet – you’ll do whatever Guru Maharaja tells you. Therefore you are completely satisfied, because you have no independent agenda; you simply want to serve the desires of the spiritual master. That’s the easiest way. It’s really the only way to do it. That’s required. Guru is required. You must become a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master. Of course, in ISKCON we have many who are purely representing Srila Prabhupada, so you can choose. But that’s required. You have to be surrendered to a bona fide spiritual master. And then you can actually taste the sweetest nectar at every minute.
But sometimes working outside has an impact on life. I have found sometimes that I get too much engrossed in working on the outside - my chanting gets affected, the whole consciousness of serving the Deities gets affected, and so forth.
Where do you work, at what company?
The telephone company.
That means you’re not seeing through the eyes of scripture. You’re not doing that, you see. You’re supposed to see through the eyes of scripture. Monday morning when you’re going to the office you have to see, “This is the energy of Krishna. This building is the energy of Krishna. My boss is a manifestation of Krishna.” Krishna says, “I am the ability in man.” So you have to see that the ability the supervisor has to manage the department is actually Krishna. You have to learn how to see Krishna within your corporation.
But if he [the boss] is a meat-eater how can you see him as Krishna?
Because Krishna says, “I am the ability in man.”
But he’s a meat-eater.
Krishna is the ability even in the meat-eaters. That ability they have to manage is Krishna. That’s stated in the Bhagavad-gita; who can deny it?
[back to previous inquirer/Q2]
You have to learn how to see Krishna within everything, and everything within Krishna. You have to make your meditation on Krishna uninterrupted. Apratihata – unbroken. You have to understand that if you’re not able to keep yourself purely merged in Krishna consciousness twenty-four hours a day, that you have some material motives in your heart that are not allowing you to do that. You’re trying to blame it on the job, but I’m telling you it’s not the job, it’s your own material motives in the heart that are clouding your ability to stay fixed. Look at Bhaktivinode Thakura. He was working a job for the British government. He had a very intense job as a magistrate. His Krishna consciousness was not broken. You can’t blame it on the job; that’s no excuse. It’s your own lack of Krishna consciousness that’s the problem. You have to intensify your own practice. Are you chanting sixteen rounds regularly?
Are you initiated?
Tamal Krishna Maharaja.
So you have to increase you absorption in Krishna consciousness. You have to intensify your own Krishna consciousness. Are you married? Do you have any children?
Yes. I have two kids.
What time do you get up in the morning?
At about five or six.
That’s pretty late. What time do you go to bed at night?
Why do you stay up so late? Do you watch television?
No. By time I get home it’s about six or six-thirty, and by time everything finishes up, it has gotten late. I spend some time with the kids, and then I complete some things from work.
Do you chant sixteen rounds before you leave for work every day?
No, I can’t do that. I’m trying to do that –
Oh, that’s your big problem. What I would do in your situation is get up very early, get those rounds in and take a nap (because you’ve gotten up earlier and your body may be a little tired). Get up very early, when you can really focus and concentrate on the holy names; finish your rounds, read a little bit, and then take a little nap before you go to work to recharge yourself so you will be alert. I would do something like that if I were you.
I have found that on the weekends it is better, because I can do my rounds before I do anything else, and I can –
You need to do that during the week also, by getting up early and taking a little extra rest right before you go to work. That’s one idea, anyway.
That’s a good idea.
You have to do something. You’ve got to intensify your sadhana; that’s the problem. You’re not charging your battery sufficiently. You should be able to be fixed in Krishna consciousness all day long – nicely and blissfully absorbed in Krishna consciousness, even though you’re working your job. Just intensify that bhakti. Get your batteries charged up. Did you hear that lecture last night? That’s what we were explaining last night. You have to charge your spiritual battery sufficiently. If you don’t charge your mobile phone sufficiently it goes dead during the middle of the day. Similarly, you’re going spiritually dead in the middle of the day because you haven’t charged you battery sufficiently in the morning. You need to intensify your morning program. Make it stronger. Then you’ll be okay.
Any other questions?
Okay, we’ll stop here. Srimad Bhagavatam ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi