Discourse on the Absolute
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja
(A conversation with V. Venkanta Subbaya of Ongol.
Shorthanded by Anil Kanta Ganguli, B.A.)
Shorthanded by Anil Kanta Ganguli, B.A.)
We require solution for the various problems of our life. But we are liable to be interrupted and troubled by foreign relations by polemical discussions and also to meet different contending ideas and thoughts from outside. So we require Divine instruction for our purpose. We are assured by the song of the Supreme Lord Sree Krishna, "Sarvadharman parityajya Mamekam sharanam vraja, Aham twam sarva papebhyoh mokshyeeshyamee na suchah, i.e. Depend on Me. You will not have to repent for such submission. Whatever you have acquired up to this time, leave aside and come up to Me, I will dictate to you what course you should adopt". But in case we do not feel assured by this and thinking we are going to be deceived by such insinuative dictations of Shree Krishna, try to follow some other source of instruction, Shree Krishna has already sung another song to avoid that, "Yehpyanyadevata bhakta jajante shraddhayanvita, tehpi Mameb Kaunteya jajanti abidhipurbakam". The Lord says, "If you take the initiative to suggest a course you are liable to be instructed by such sources which will prove to be ineffective in the long run beacuse I am immanent in the universe and there is no possibility of avoiding Me. I am the source of all existence. I am full of knowledge, I am endowed with infinity of bliss". We can have no better instruction from elsewhere, which can give a more dependable and complete idea of the thing. The whole thing, the exact entity, could not be found if we took a different course from Shree Krishna as Shree Krishna is the Fountainhead of all energies; all sorts of energies - even the opposite and conflicting energies - are stored in Him. He is "Akhilarasamritamurti". We have heard His song, "Ye yatha Mam prapadyante tamstathaiva bhajamyaham, Mama bartmanubartante manushya Parthah sarbashah". We are actuated by the influence of rasa. We require pleasant sensation. But we should see that our particular predilection is directed to a definite purpose. Shree Krishna is the emporium of everything. In Geeta we have clearly marked the exact situation of the human soul and the phenomenal existence of His Prakriti. "Bhumiraponalo vayu kham mano buddhirebacha, ahamkara itiyamg Me vinna prakritirastadha; apareyamitastvanyam prakritim biddhi Me param jibabhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat". We have seen that there are two prakritis - para and apara. Jivas are known as para prakriti but jivas, being infinitessimally small, can come under the clutch of apara prakriti - can be overpowered by the deluding potency. Jivas can also disassociate themselves from this undesirable situation. How can this be? We have heard another song, "Daivi hyesha gunamayee Mama maya duratyaya, Mameva ye prapadyante mayametam taranti te". We have got the solution as how to get rid of this shackle in "Mameva ye prapadyante". By the use of the word "mam" we see the object is singular - the personaltiy is fixed. The Lord sings, "I can set you free from the clutches of the present activity of measuring things through the senses. I can show Myself fully to you when there will no necessity of exercising your senses. I have set the engine of the three 'gunas' for the purpose of entrapping the less intelligent people. But when they listen to My dictation they see that they can easily manage to get rid of this trouble by submitting to Me, to Me alone." There is no other alternative of getting rid of our measuring temperament. We are now equipped with senses which are incapable of leading us to the Truth. We are liable to be deluded by the influence of Maya, and Maya is but a trap. If we want to avoid that trap, we are to submit to Him unconditionally. So 'prapatti' is the essential thing which means full submission. We can exercise our senses but such exploitations will not do any good to us in the long run unless we submit to Him leaving aside whatever we have acquired up to this time. We are simply to surrender to Him. When we simply depend on Him, He will give us such facilities as to enable us to make better progress. We are assured that we need not take the empirical course through our senses. Though we have inclination of acquiring knowledge through our senses, our attempts are often frusrated. Our empirical activities often fail to make much progress for we see that whatever we have acquired by our empiricism requires more addition or subtraction when we pass though the rolling of time. We think we have acquired a good deal of knowledge at our thitrtieth year, but that knowledge is found to be inadequate as soon as we reach the fourtieth year. Again if we have to live for then years more, we will have to revise our knowledge again. In this way living for any number of years will not serve our purpose, it will not make us wise, i.e., all sorts of empirical knowledge are quite useless for the purpose of gaining the whole truth. We should, therefore, be 'prapanna'. We should simply submit, and that submission should be attended with everything we have acquired. Whatever we have acquired must be given up considering that we will be helped by Him. But if we have no such confidence in Him, we cannot part with our acquired things.
We will be making a sad mistake if we conjecture that the Lord, in the long run, may have nothing to conferr on us, and that by giving up what we have acquired we will get into trouble. We forget that He is the Absolute, He is the emporium of everything. We need not be doubtful of His assurances that He will never fail us. We have got a free will which we can exercise. But we are not expected to imagine that we are independent. We are bound to accept that we are dependants. If we make a sifting enquiry into the phenomenal objects, we won't get anything which can give us that sort of relief which the Fountainhead of all things - that very Center - can give us. So Geeta tells us that submission to the Supreme Authority, Sree Krishna, is the only thing wanted; and by such submission our desired ends will be fully and duly fulfilled. The question is how in spite of the measuring temperament which stands against our purpose, that submission is to be effected.
(Thus Sambandha or Relationship is dealt with. Next time we will discuss what process we have to adopt to get our end).
On the 6th August, 1935.
After Sambandha comes Abhidheya i.e. how to reach our coveted place, what sort of adoption is required for the purpose of achieving our objects. That is Abhidheya, and Abhidheyas there are thousands. They are classed by somebody to be 64, by some 9, and by some 5. Though they are multifarious aspects of adoption by which we can love the All-love - the Absolute - these adoptions are classified in 64 or 9 or 5 divisions. Of the 64 divisions, 5 are the principal things, and with these 5 divisions we are to deal. These are - 1. Bhagabat shraban, Bhagabat kirttan, Bhagabat smaran, 2. Sree Hari's anghri-sevanam, 3. Mathurabas, 4. company of sadhus and 5. Sree Harinam sankirttan.
Mathurabas means to have our eternal abode in Mathura, the place where all knowledge is permanent. Sree Harinam sankirtan is chanting the Transcendental Name. Archan is done in 5, 16 and 64 upacharas for which purpose we are given some Archa in the form of Vigraha, Painting, Figure or Icon, and we have to worship with this Archa with some mantras. All material things are spiritualised by the influence of dedication. When we dedicate worldly things to the Object of our worship, we need not think that they have got any material value to be enjoyed by us. All sorts of mundane temporary associations have to be eliminated before anything can be offered to the Object of worship. This is called 'bhutashuddhi'. The Object of worship being spiritual, spiritual things are to be offered by a spiritual actor through spiritual activity. Material things are not welcomed by the spirit and we should not bring any material things before Him. If we do so, we would be considering Godhead as one of Nature's products, but that is not the case. He should not be considered as an object of phenomena. All the objects of phenomena serve our purpose - but Godhead is not an object to serve us. He is the only Object of adoration - of worship - and all services are to be offered to Him. We need not demand anything from Him, as we issue cheques or notes on demand to be cashed in our Banks, for our purpose. He is not our servitor. It is we who are His eternal servitors, and we are to offer our services to Him without expectation of getting anything in return. If we demand anything in lieu of our services that would be considered as a bartering system. When we go to a benia shop we get some articles for which we pay some price. That sort of transaction should not be done with the Absolute. With non-Absolutes we can have such transactions; but we should not carry on such transactions with the Absolute. Banikbritti is not necessary. We should be always offering our services to Him and not receiving any service from Him. We are not to expect Godhead to serve us in any capacity. He needs not come to us as parents. We find such demands "Dhanam dehi, rupam dehi, jayam dehi, dwisho jahi etc.", are made by a class of people who style themselves as shakteyas. Our prayers should not be to that end. We should not pray, "Give us this day our daily bread". We must not ask Godhead to attend to our call. Throughout the whole world we find such wrong ideas. Devotion should be our principal aim, and not karma or jnana. There is another injunction in the Sermon on the Mount, "Don't take God's name in vain". Yes, we should not take God's name for the purpose of our own use. If we want to serve Godhead and implore Him to receive our services, we won't be infringing any such rules dictated by Christ. He has forbidden us to take God's name in vain. That is true. We should not ask Him for anything just as we ask our order-suppliers to furnish things for our use. We are simply to submit. He is the best Judge to look after us. We do not know how good will come to us. We cannot examine the merits and demerits of things by our present acquisitions. It is not possible. We should always be ready to submit to Him unconditionally. All other ideas except this are not regarded as bhakti by true religionists. In Geeta we find three divisions. The first six chapters are for karmins, the last six chapters for jnanins, and the intermediate six chapters for bhaktas. So the middle portion is the principal thing of the book. The karmakanda and jnanakanda are not the real factors of the book - are not its necessary paraphernalia. So bhakti or devotion to Godhead should be the principal object of all religions. Bhakti should be considered as nitya, that is permanent and constant. "The Supreme Lord is unconquerable. Our strenuous efforts or empirical knowledge cannot give us the facility of bringing Him within our sense perceptions. The devotees have no faith in either of these processes, yet they can by their devotion manage to accomodate Him within their hearts. We are to throw off all exertions for acquiring knowledge leaving aside all our exploitations of knowledge. We should not be unmindful of giving up all that are not wanted. We need not pose ourselves as intellectual giants. But we should always be energetic in our devotional purpose. We are not to have any confidence in the two systems of karma and jnana, or accept the the results derived by these two methods. We should be devotees. Aural reception should be sufficient for our purpose. We should hear from the lips of the adepts who are constantly busy in offering their services to the Absolute. They have the loving tendency for the love of the All-Love.
The Absolute, the Infinity, is ever-ready to receive His servitors and His servitors have no other engagement but to serve Him. Devotees do not think that they have any other course to be adapted. They need not have any other engagements. They are always engaged in pleasing their Master. There cannot be any difference of interest between the Master and His servitor, or when the Master is wanting one thing the servitor is supplying another thing. This cannot be called service. Whatever is wanted by the Master, that should be supplied by the servitor. We should always be ready to serve according to the whims and predilections of the Master. This is devotion. We should not offer anything according to our taste which may not have His approval. He is the Fountainhead of all potency. He is the Predominating Agent and we are the predominating agents. We have no other duty but to attend to the wishes of the Master. Our duty should be to serve Him as spouse and not as husband. The Master should not be the spouse. Westerners are always busy to serve their wives. They are, more or less, strainas or naripujakas. They have a rule in their society that no one should have more than one wife. But the Supreme Autocrat should not be resticted in that way. Sree Ram Chandra has been restricted to only one wife, whereas Sree Krishna has got millions. We need not restrict Him. He is the Proprietor of everything and everything is within His range. We need not put Him under the clutch of restriction as if He is Nature's product and nature is not one of His products. We should always abide by the rules of civic discipline otherwise some restlessness or disturbance may arise in society. We are to remember such maxims as "Do to others what others should do unto you" in the transactions with our friends. Whereas the Absolute has got everything as Proprietor and all properties are meant for His service only and not for the service of any other else. Since we are dependants, we should be restricted in every way, but we need not for this reason try to restrict the Master. We have got some independence, but that independence should not be indulged in such a way as to restrict the Master. We are allowed some definite things for our purpose, whereas He has the sway over all. So we must not think Him as one of His created beings. When the Absolute wants something, we are morally bound to offer our services to Him - to attend to His needs. If He thinks that He is the Husband, all should be His wives. The soul should attire her body according to the taste of her husband - she should apparel herself in such a way as to please her Master. We are not to think that Godhead should be a predominated agent to serve our pupose. We need not lord it over Him. We are not allowed to do so. We are incapable of doing so. Being infinitessimally small, we have not the power to have Him as dependent. We ought not to think that He should be our parent and serve us, as we find our parents doing from the beginning of our lives. We should serve and worship Bala Krishna - Child Krishna as His parents. "Srutimapare Smritimitare Bharatamanye bhajantu bhababheeta ahamiha Nandam bande yasyalinde Param-Brahma". "I need not go through the Vedas, I need not read the Dharmashastras and Mahabharata for the amelioration of my troubles. Let persons who are too much afraid of worldly troubles read Vedas and so on. I am not afraid of all these. I do not think that the pessimistic trend of my mind should engage me in reading these books. These are lifeless transactions. I want a living thing. I see that Nanda, as father, has got the privilege of nurturing and forstering Child Krishna from the very beginning. So it is better for me that I should have Nanda as my preceptor instead of all these shastras. The Child Krishna is found to be crawling on the corridor of Nanda's house. I am also going to worship Him as His parent's servitor. Therefore, the parent servitor should be my preceptor. I should not ask Him to be my friend, but instead, I should befriend Him, i.e., I should render my services to Him as a friend. I should also like to be termed as His confidential friend and not a reverential friend. Flatterers use to flatter their masters posing themselves as friends. I should not be His flattering friend. I should like to be His confidential friend. I won't hesitate to offer Him any food which I have already tasted before to see whether it is relishing or not. If I find the food to be nice, then only shall I place it before the Supreme Lord, whereas, our reverential friend would not allow such conduct which is quite contrary to ideas of the reverential worshipers of the Lord. Even Sree Ramanuja followed the rules of reverential worship. But Sree Krishna Chaitanya has told us what we should be His confidential friends instead of posing ourselves as friends in a reverential mood. The reverential mood rather puts a sort of screen before us. Shanta rati is the neutral mood. The Absolute has the right of receiving the different services rendered by His servitors. "Ye yatha Mam prapadyante tamstathaib bhajamyaham". The Lord says He is ever ready to receive services from His servitors.
Ordinary people do not understand what religion is. Most people are injuring the cause of service excepting the scool of Devotion. Jnanins want to merge in the personality of Godhead. Buddhists think that they can get rid of all miseries by annihilating themselves. Henotheists think that they will in the long run, reach a state where there is no manifestive or designative feature. Devotees call such people non-devotees, atheists, sceptics, etc. There are karmins or karmabirs who are doing many things. They declare that they have got a definite object for which they work, otherwise they would be called frantic or mad people. They are all wage-earners, contractors and do their work in order to get something in return. Agnostics on the other hand do not trouble themselves with such things; they want to lose themselves, they want to commit suicide. These people are not devotees. The idea of a devotee is quite different from the ordinatry idea of men in general. The devotional school is always looking after the interest of the Absolute. They do not class themselves as karmakhandins or jnankhandis - they do not join these two parties. They are quite different.
We all should be Mathura people. We should have conception of spiritual Mathura instead of mundane Mathura which is the place of enjoyment of people of a very low grade. Our sahajia brothers think that they can have access to Mathura by paying the railway fare. "Namashrestham manumapi Sachiputramatra swarupam, rupam tasyagrajamurupurim Mathurim gostha batim". It is by surrendering ourselves to the Preceptor's Feet that we can have an abode in Mathura. Otherwise we cannot get an entrance into the transcendental region. We should approach the Guru who will confer on us the eight things i.e., Name, Mantra, etc. The Nama is the Transcendental Sound and Mantras are incantations. The Nama is identical with the Namee. The Mantra is required in order to reach that situation in which the Name can be properly chanted. The son of Sachi is the Supreme Lord Himself. Damodar Swarup is the head of the Gaudiyas or the transcendental servitors of Sree Krishna Chaitanya. Rupa and Sanatana were sent to Mathura by Sree Krishna Chaitanya to diffuse transcendental knowledge there. There are several Puris which can give salvation, and among them Mathura is the acme. Gosthabati - where Sree Krishna is feeding His cows. (The sound "Go" has various meanings as - knowledge, senses, the animal cow, etc.). The next thing is Radhakunda which is a tank where Krishna got rid of the sin He incurred by killing a cow named Aristanemi. He killed Arestotelianism or the rationalistic process of reasoning of this imperfect world. When Krishna wanted to join hands with Radhika, Aristanemi came forward to disturb Him, becacuse Radhika was thought by many people to be the wife of a milkman named Abhimanyu. This Aristanemi was the incarnation of mundane knowledge, and Krishna killed him for which act he expiated by taking a dip in the Radhakunda. This kunda is the mental speculation of Radha. The eternal land of our abode should be Radhakunda. By the border of Radhakunda we should have our groves. There are millions of groves by the banks of Radhakunda.
This world is a perverted reflection of the original which is our real home. Instead of passing our time here, we want to go back to our eternal abode. We are now very busy to have pleasant sensations through our senses from the phenomenal objects. We should make it a point of eradicating the root cause which has brought us to this world of delusion, apparent pleasures, miseries and troubles. It is the mind. Mind is the root of all evils and the root of all pleasure-seeking inclinations. So the mind should be killed first i.e., it should not be allowed to take initiative in anything. Now the mind is controlling our senses and the soul is lying in a dormant condition. The soul has delegated its power of transacting with the external world to the mind, and the mind has five ministers to help in the administration of the phenomenal world. But the mind is not a dutiful agent of the soul. It always tries to injure the interest of the soul. The soul has come down here and, while doing so, it has incorporated two envelopes, one subtle and the other gross. But the soul is now in a drowsy condition. It cannot exactly compel the mind to look to its interest. At this crisis, the ever-merciful Lord Sree Krishna sends his messengers with the Transcendetal Sound. This Transcendental Sound is received though the ears. The Transcendental Sound is meant to regulate the five senses which are engaged in a wrong way to foster the cause of the mind and to injure the cause of the eternal soul. So aural reception is the first thing we should seek from the Agent, the deputed Messenger from the transcendental plane. The Transcendental Sound is transmitted through the lips of the Messenger in the shape of Mantra and in the shape of Nama. The very Name or the Nomenclature of the Transcendence can regulate the senses. "Go on chanting the Nama, constantly repeat the Transcendental Nomenclature, and you will find that energy is being injected into you. But this Nama should come to you from a good source, from a transcendental source, and not from any mundane source." The name should not be confused with the other sounds of this world. The Transcendental Sound regulates the senses and does not submit to the senses for scrutiny. When the Supreme Lord met Sreee Rupa at Allahabad, He first of all transmitted something into the entity of Sree Rupa which empowered him to receive the Transcendental Sounds from Him, and then He imparted those Transcendental Sounds to Sree Rupa with all explanations.
Mantra is the Nama in the dative case.
The Supreme Lord, being Adhokshaja, does not allow anybody to see Him. But people are impatient to see Him first, and that is a wrong process.
There cannot be more than one Guru. Guru is the only one without a second.
"Adau shraddha tatah sadhusangohatha bhajankriya, tatah anarthanibrittih syattato nishta ruchistatah". We should first of all make a sifting enquiry throughout the world to single out the proper person from whom we can get the process for our adoption. We shoul have full reliance or confidence (shradha) in Him. He will dictate to us what sort of engagement or bhajan we should perform for the welfare of our souls. As a result of this engagement or bhajankriya, we will be set free from all sorts of troubles and all our acquisitions and empiric activities will be regulated. That is, all undesirable elements which have crept into along with our activities will be eliminated. This is called "anarthanibritti". Then comes nistha. We should resolve that we will not deviate from our only object which is to serve the Absolute, to be constantly attached to Him. We should have some sort of predilection or taste for our bhajankriya, the continuity of which should not be disturbed. When we transcend 'sadhanbhakti', we are placed in 'bhababhakti' region where we will find that 'rati' is the cardinal point, the principal thing. When we were passing through 'sadhanbhakti', 'Shraddha' was the index. Here, in 'bhababhakti', 'rati' is the index. Rati has five different aspects, shanta, dasya, sakhya, batsalya and madhur. Rati is the medulla oblongata or the substratum which lies between sadhanbhakti and bhababhakti. Rati is supplied by four different ingredients known as vibhava, anubhav, sattvika, and sanchari. Vibhav includes alambana and udipana. In alambana we findvishaya and ashraya.. There is activity of vishaya for ashraya and of ashraya for vishaya. The Vishaya is one without a second, but ashrayas there are many. Krishna is the only Vishaya, and Karshnas are the ashrayas. Rati is associated with Vishaya and is developed by the influence of uddipana.. When we designate ourselves as ashrayas, we have only one Vishaya who is always looking to confer mercy on us, i.e., proper engagement for us, and at the same time we should have the same aptitude for having the connection of Vishaya. Anubhab is regulated bhab, just following vibhab. Then comes sattvika and sanchari. The former is 8 in number and the latter 33 in number. Sattvika indicated ecstasy. The extatic or entheasmic features of sattva are displayed, developed and nutured by the 33 sancahribhavas. So rati is associated with the 4 ingredients vibhav, anubhab, sattvika and sanchari. When they are mixed up, we find a palatable drink rasa. Rasa is formed by the composition of these four ingredients with the rati. Then we come to prema-bhakti, where rasa is indicatory. In bhaba-bhakti rati is the cardinal point. The Vishaya and the ashraya both drink this rasa. We have now come to prayojana tattva. Ashrayas taste Krishna-rasa and Krishna tastes ashraya-rasa.. The development of bhabahbhakti leads to prema-bhakti, and in prema-bhakti we find rasa. People need not confuse chit rasa with jara rasa. Chit rasa is tasted in a region where no imperfection can possibly reach. Jara rasa, as we find in stories like Nala-damayanti etc., should not be carried to that region. The domain of rasa is Bhagabata. The book is dedicated to rasikas and bhabukas and not to anybody else. Krishna-prema is the only prayojana or need. This is the final stage.
There are some people who with their hallucinative ideas think that bhoga should be the final goal, and there are some perverse people who think that tyaga should be the final destination. But these things are not congenial for our propagatory works. We are not to confine ourselves to the ideas of bhoga or tyaga. Parama dharma is not temporary religion asssociated with the retention of temporary things. We must not think that parama dharma is on the same line with itaradharma. Parama dharma or sanatana dharma is meant for our eternal purpose. Our soul being eternal, this sanatana dharma is to be adopted, but not the pseudo-sanatana dharma advocated by the karmins and jnanins. So we should be very careful not to accept agnosticism or the pantheists. We should also be careful not to accept the enjoying mood of the karmakandins who are very busy to have us as suppliers of their gluttonous desires. So true devotion should be defined first. In order to do so, the second shloka of the Bhagabat reading "Dharmah projjhgita etc." has come to us. Projjita means from which all pretentions have been uprooted. Persons who have already transcended the mundane regions are known as sadhus, and the religion of the sadhus is inculcated in the Bhagabat. Matsarata is the combination of the five obstacles viz., kama, krodha, lobha and mada. By indulging in these passions we become matsar i.e. jealous. Sadhus are free from jealousy. Bastava Bastu means positive entity. We should have access to the positive entity and not the negative side of the dreamy representations of the objects. By the reverential study of the Bhagabat the threeforld tapas (miseries) viz., adhyatmik, adhidaivik andadhibhoutik, are completely eliminated.
Krishna-prema-rasa should be our desired end. We should be rasika bhabukas and not devoid of rasa.
(This article was originally published in The Harmonist Magazine. It is not edited by Sri Guru Vandana, except for minor orthographical changes.)
Rays of the Harmonist 6-2 No.11 Karttika 2002