Bhagavänera Kathä 5
THE MESSAGE OF GODHEAD
by Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Svämé Mahäräja
(Continued from the previous issue)
[NOTE: This page uses Balarama font (available here)
for better transliteration of Sanskrit into English]
The laws created by the whimsical nature of a human mind, state that one receives capital punishment for taking a human life. There is, however, no such injunction for killing living entities other than humans. But the laws of providence are different. Bhagavän’s law is that one will receive punishment for destroying any life, just as a person is punished for committing murder. Atheists refuse to accept the existence of Bhagavän, because to do so would impede their performance of sinful activities. Småti-çästra describes that in the performance of household activities many types of sin occur due to the willing or unwilling destruction of life. Every household duty, such as cooking, grinding, storing pots and cleaning, incurs such sin without the householder wanting it. To free oneself from these sinful actions, one can perform païca-çünä-yajïa. Therefore the only law is to accept prasäda, remnants of food that have been offered in sacrifice to Viñëu, the Lord of all sacrifice.
One who selfishly cooks for the satisfaction of his own senses and the lasciviousness of his tongue, and not for the service and pleasure of Viñëu, undergoes suffering as a result of his sinful acts. This is the law of providence.
Many householders, however, still take shelter of sanätana-dharma and follow the process of service to Viñëu to attain freedom from such sinful activities. Leaders of countries and societies are therefore instructed to work for the satisfaction of Viñëu, thereby benefiting themselves and those who follow them. Because people follow their ideal, it is the leaders’ duty to carefully study the various ways of performing yajïa, sacrifice for the pleasure of Çré Viñëu. For the benefit of society, spiritual universities are required to teach people how to perform karma as an offering to Viñëu. Bhagavän Çré Kåñëa indicated to Çré Arjuna that he should perform this type of yajïa:
yad yad äcarati çreñöhas / tad tad evataro janaù
sa yat pramäëam kurute / lokas tad anuvarttate
Whatever action a great man performs, common men
follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary
acts, all the world pursues.
Alas! Such a time has come that most of those who are identified as superiors, as well as those who are great leaders of societies and countries, are inimical to Viñëu. What, then, will they do for Viñëu? If they do not perform yajïa for the satisfaction of Viñëu, how will they attain release from the fruits of their own sinful activities? If great leaders do not declare Viñëu to be the omnipresent Absolute Truth who, although possessing a form, remains present everywhere in his formless, non-distinct aspect, then how will the common man understand this? It is Håñékeça, the master of the senses, who is the sole proprietor of everything; we cannot be the masters and enjoyers of this world. We should gratefully accept only that which He mercifully gives us. We must not hanker after or claim the property of others.
éçäväsyam idam sarvaà / yat kiïca jagatyäà jagat
tena tyaktena bhuïjéthä / mä gådhaù kasya svid dhanam
Çré Éçopaniñad (1)
Everything animate and inanimate within the universe
is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should
therefore accept only that which is necessary for himself,
that is set aside as his quota. One should not
accept anything more, knowing well to whom it
Only if the leaders correctly perform their duties by placing Bhagavän at the centre of them will they and their followers attain supreme auspiciousness. If, however, they do not place Bhagavän at the centre of their activities, and instead pose as Viñëu themselves, deceiving their disciples by accepting läbha (wealth), püja (worship) and pratiñöhä (praise), many unfortunate people (followers) can fall on to the path of ruination upon seeing their example of pretentious renunciation. They will achieve nothing but this. Such leaders uselessly incite their ignorant flatterers to engage in many types of sinful activities. By thus increasing their own läbha, püja and pratiñöhä, these leaders bring about the destruction of their followers. They do not understand that wealth, worship and praise are transient and will be destroyed along with their body. The sinful activities performed to attain läbha, püja and pratiñöhä are subtly mixed with the mind, intelligence and false ego, in the form of seeds of future sinful action. Performing these sinful activities will compel the jéva to sink in the cycle of birth and
death, as he wanders throughout the various species of life, birth after birth.
The mass of people follow the example set by leaders who are devoid of tattva-jïäna. It is therefore correct for those leaders to act with great care, having understood the art of performing karma as a sacrifice (karma-yoga). Only out of impudence will one who is
not adept at curing his own illness prescribe treatment for the sick (the common masses). Unless one knows the specific disease he is treating, and the proper medicine and diet for it, he will not be able to benefit the sick. Similarly, prescribing a medicine that simply fulfils the desire for sense gratification will never benefit the common people. The disease will only spread, and the doctor (the leaders) will also suffer by being infected himself.
Human society’s indifference to Viñëu is its fundamental disease. It is true that by failing to administer the proper medicine and showing only superficial sympathy, the senses of the sick person may receive momentary relief, but no real benefit is achieved. If a sick person is not given the proper medicine and diet he will certainly rush into the jaws of death.
The best and only diet for curing the multiple diseases caused by nescience is the remnants of sacrifice offered to Bhagavän, bhagavat-prasäda. And the greatest medicine is to surrender oneself completely to Him by taking darçana of His deity form, worshipping Him (arcana), serving Him (däsya), being His friend (sakhya), and completely offering Him your very self
(ätma-nivedana). This is all based on hearing and chanting the narrations of His glories. Performance of such devotional activities will bring auspiciousness for the whole world; anything else will bring inauspiciousness. If people perform these activities there will be no
chance of problems arising for human society. In fact everything will be advantageous. Opportunists and economists should deliberate upon these facts.
Although the leaders of society, headed by Mahätmä Gandhi, have made great endeavors to bring about peace in the world, these endeavors are not bearing any fruit and they never will. This is because they lack encouragement by the mahäjanas. The imaginary “God” of the impersonalists (nirviçeñavädés) cannot eat, see or hear; therefore their God can never bring peace to the world. How will He, who is bereft of sensory organs, see people’s suffering or hear their prayers? The only result of worshipping Bhagavän as the nirviçeña-vädés do, is inauspiciousness. It will never be auspicious. Very little of the Absolute Truth is attained by contemplating impersonal knowledge of Him. By studying and discussing dry empirical knowledge, the complete personal aspect of Bhagavän is not realized. Rather, one only attains suffering and difficulties. Therefore, leaders such as the respected Gandhi will only benefit the people if they endeavor to realize the personal aspect (saviçeña) of the Absolute.
On the other hand the general mass of people are gross materialists, expert in performing activities related to the body and mind. People with such a low level of consciousness are absorbed in such mundane activities and cannot develop faith in the existence of the spiritual world, which lies beyond this material world. They consider the body to be the all-in-all and
they are so deeply absorbed in the animalistic mentality of eating, sleeping, fearing and mating that they cannot discriminate between sinful and pious activities. Tirelessly working like this to satisfy the senses is known as mogha-karma, useless activity, and it is inspired by mogha-äçä, useless desires.
Many mundane scientists, acting as reformers, engage in harmful activities to bring about world ruination. By producing various objects that satisfy the skin, tongue, nose, ears and eyes, they have created a dangerous rivalry among materialistic people, whose worldly entanglement they have intensified. These people thus claim dominance over material nature, but the more they dominate, the more they themselves are dominated and bound by the shackles of material nature. And the more they accumulate wealth, the more restless they become. The lakñmé of Bhagavän is only to be enjoyed by Him. To the degree that one tries to seize Her, one falls into the jaws of ruination, just as the whole dynasty of Rävana did. The result of making such great endeavors to maintain the body is that it becomes a great burden simply to sustain it with a little food.
The consciousness of some people is a little more advanced than this lower class of men. They are the fruitive workers who perform charity work and other pious activities with full faith that in their next birth they will be sure to receive a greater level of sense enjoyment. Both kinds of fruitive workers fail to understand that both sinful and pious activities are the cause of bondage. They do not understand that to perform niñkäma-karma-yoga (selfless action that is offered to Bhagavän) is the actual art of performing karma (action). Karma-yogés, who are expert in the art of karma, skillfully perform karma-yoga with apparent attachment, in order to teach karma-yoga to the foolish fruitive workers and the world. This art of karmayoga brings auspiciousness to both the performer and the society. Bhagavän Çré Kåñëa has given this very same teaching in the Bhagavad-gétä (3.25):
saktäù karmaëy avidväàso / yathä kurvanti bhärata
kuryäd vidväàs tathäsaktaç / cikérñur loka-saìgraham
O descendant of Bhärata, ignorant people perform
karma with attachment to maintaining themselves.
Similarly you, being wise, should also work (perform
karma-yoga) to set an ideal for the people in general.
Those learned in tattva-jïäna perform activities to maintain themselves just as ordinary people do, but as a yajïa to please Viñëu. The general populace consider such wise persons to be sense enjoyers like themselves. Such persons, however, are not foolish fruitive workers but learned karma-yogés. Nowadays we are witnessing the karmé world prosper in various ways
due to the expansion of modern material science. Many factories, hospitals, universities and so on have sprung up, thus binding the world further in the ropes of karma, or action. In ancient times such mundane activities were not so prominent, but due to the effects of asat-saìga these tight bindings and coverings of karma are being invented. Wise karma-yogés, therefore, can engage all such activities in yajïa for the satisfaction of Viñëu, thus attaining expertise in the art of performing karma.
(To be continued)
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