Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 11 Chapter 12
Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge
na rodhayati māṁ yogo
na sāṅkhyaṁ dharma eva ca
na svādhyāyas tapas tyāgo
neṣṭā-pūrtaṁ na dakṣiṇā
vratāni yajñaś chandāṁsi
tīrthāni niyamā yamāḥ
sarva-saṅgāpaho hi mām
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; na rodhayati — does not control; mām — Me; yogaḥ — the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system; na — neither; sāṅkhyam — the analytic study of the material elements; dharmaḥ — ordinary piety such as nonviolence; eva — indeed; ca — also; na — neither; svādhyāyaḥ — chanting the Vedas; tapaḥ — penances; tyāgaḥ — the renounced order of life; na — nor; iṣṭā-pūrtam — the performance of sacrifice and public welfare activities such as digging wells or planting trees; na — neither; dakṣiṇā — charity; vratāni — taking vows such as fasting completely on Ekādaśī; yajñaḥ — worship of the demigods; chandāṁsi — chanting confidential mantras; tīrthāni — going to holy places of pilgrimage; niyamāḥ — following major instructions for spiritual discipline; yamāḥ — and also minor regulations; yathā — as; avarundhe — brings under control; sat-saṅgaḥ — association with My devotees; sarva — all; saṅga — material association; apahaḥ — removing; hi — certainly; mām — Me.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, by associating with My pure devotees one can destroy one’s attachment for all objects of material sense gratification. Such purifying association brings Me under the control of My devotee. One may perform the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system, engage in philosophical analysis of the elements of material nature, practice nonviolence and other ordinary principles of piety, chant the Vedas, perform penances, take to the renounced order of life, execute sacrificial performances and dig wells, plant trees and perform other public welfare activities, give in charity, carry out severe vows, worship the demigods, chant confidential mantras, visit holy places or accept major and minor disciplinary injunctions, but even by performing such activities one does not bring Me under his control.
sat-saṅgena hi daiteyā
yātudhānā mṛgāḥ khagāḥ
vaiśyāḥ śūdrāḥ striyo ’ntya-jāḥ
tasmiṁs tasmin yuge yuge
bahavo mat-padaṁ prāptās
vṛṣaparvā balir bāṇo
mayaś cātha vibhīṣaṇaḥ
sugrīvo hanumān ṛkṣo
gajo gṛdhro vaṇikpathaḥ
vyādhaḥ kubjā vraje gopyo
sat-saṅgena — by association with My devotees; hi — certainly; daiteyāḥ — the sons of Diti; yātudhānāḥ — demons; mṛgāḥ — animals; khagāḥ — birds; gandharva — Gandharvas; apsarasaḥ — the society girls of heaven; nāgāḥ — snakes; siddhāḥ — residents of Siddhaloka; cāraṇa — the Cāraṇas; guhyakāḥ — the Guhyakas; vidyādharāḥ — the residents of Vidyādharaloka; manuṣyeṣu — among the human beings; vaiśyāḥ — mercantile men; śūdrāḥ — laborers; striyaḥ — women; antya-jāḥ — uncivilized men; rajaḥ-tamaḥ-prakṛtayaḥ — those bound in the modes of passion and ignorance; tasmin tasmin — in each and every; yuge yuge — age; bahavaḥ — many living entities; mat — My; padam — abode; prāptāḥ — achieved; tvāṣṭra — Vṛtrāsura; kāyādhava — Prahlāda Mahārāja; ādayaḥ — and others like them; vṛṣaparvā — named Vṛṣaparvā; baliḥ — Bali Mahārāja; bāṇaḥ — Bāṇāsura; mayaḥ — the demon Maya; ca — also; atha — thus; vibhīṣaṇaḥ — Vibhīṣaṇa, the brother of Rāvaṇa; sugrīvaḥ — the monkey king Sugrīva; hanumān — the great devotee Hanumān; ṛkṣaḥ — Jāmbavān; gajaḥ — the devotee-elephant Gajendra; gṛdhraḥ — Jaṭāyu the vulture; vaṇikpathaḥ — the merchant Tulādhāra; vyādhaḥ — Dharma-vyādha; kubjā — the former prostitute Kubjā, saved by Lord Kṛṣṇa; vraje — in Vṛndāvana; gopyaḥ — the gopīs; yajña-patnyaḥ — the wives of the brāhmaṇas performing sacrifice; tathā — similarly; apare — others.
In every yuga many living entities entangled in the modes of passion and ignorance gained the association of My devotees. Thus, such living entities as the Daityas, Rākṣasas, birds, beasts, Gandharvas, Apsarās, Nāgas, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Guhyakas and Vidyādharas, as well as such lower-class human beings as the vaiśyas, śūdras, women and others, were able to achieve My supreme abode. Vṛtrāsura, Prahlāda Mahārāja and others like them also achieved My abode by association with My devotees, as did personalities such as Vṛṣaparvā, Bali Mahārāja, Bāṇāsura, Maya, Vibhīṣaṇa, Sugrīva, Hanumān, Jāmbavān, Gajendra, Jaṭāyu, Tulādhāra, Dharma-vyādha, Kubjā, the gopīs in Vṛndāvana and the wives of the brāhmaṇas who were performing sacrifice.
mat-saṅgān mām upāgatāḥ
te — they; na — not; adhīta — having studied; śruti-gaṇāḥ — the Vedic literatures; na — not; upāsita — having worshiped; mahat-tamaḥ — great saints; avrata — without vows; atapta — not having undergone; tapasaḥ — austerities; mat-saṅgāt — simply by association with Me and My devotees; mām — Me; upāgatāḥ — they achieved.
The persons I have mentioned did not undergo serious studies of the Vedic literature, nor did they worship great saintly persons, nor did they execute severe vows or austerities. Simply by association with Me and My devotees, they achieved Me.
kevalena hi bhāvena
gopyo gāvo nagā mṛgāḥ
ye ’nye mūḍha-dhiyo nāgāḥ
siddhā mām īyur añjasā
kevalena — by unalloyed; hi — indeed; bhāvena — by love; gopyaḥ — the gopīs; gāvaḥ — the Vṛndāvana cows; nagāḥ — the unmoving creatures of Vṛndāvana such as the twin arjuna trees; mṛgāḥ — other animals; ye — those; anye — others; mūḍha-dhiyaḥ — with stunted intelligence; nāgāḥ — Vṛndāvana snakes such as Kāliya; siddhāḥ — achieving the perfection of life; mām — to Me; īyuḥ — they went; añjasā — quite easily.
The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, including the gopīs, cows, unmoving creatures such as the twin arjuna trees, animals, living entities with stunted consciousness such as bushes and thickets, and snakes such as Kāliya, all achieved the perfection of life by unalloyed love for Me and thus very easily achieved Me.
yaṁ na yogena sāṅkhyena
prāpnuyād yatnavān api
yam — whom; na — not; yogena — by the mystic yoga systems; sāṅkhyena — by philosophical speculation; dāna — by charity; vrata — vows; tapaḥ — austerities; adhvaraiḥ — or Vedic ritualistic sacrifices; vyākhyā — by explaining Vedic knowledge to others; svādhyāya — personal study of the Veda; sannyāsaiḥ — or by taking the renounced order of life; prāpnuyāt — can one obtain; yatna-vān — with great endeavor; api — even.
Even though one engages with great endeavor in the mystic yoga system, philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances, ritualistic sacrifices, teaching of Vedic mantras to others, personal study of the Vedas, or the renounced order of life, still one cannot achieve Me.
rāmeṇa sārdhaṁ mathurāṁ praṇīte
śvāphalkinā mayy anurakta-cittāḥ
vigāḍha-bhāvena na me viyoga-
tīvrādhayo ’nyaṁ dadṛśuḥ sukhāya
rāmeṇa — with Balarāma; sārdham — with; mathurām — to the city of Mathurā; praṇīte — when brought; śvāphalkinā — by Akrūra; mayi — Myself; anurakta — constantly attached; cittāḥ — those whose consciousness was; vigāḍha — extremely deep; bhāvena — by love; na — not; me — than Me; viyoga — of separation; tīvra — intense; ādhayaḥ — who were experiencing mental distress, anxiety; anyam — other; dadṛśuḥ — they saw; sukhāya — that could make them happy.
The residents of Vṛndāvana, headed by the gopīs, were always completely attached to Me with deepest love. Therefore, when My uncle Akrūra brought My brother Balarāma and Me to the city of Mathurā, the residents of Vṛndāvana suffered extreme mental distress because of separation from Me and could not find any other source of happiness.
tās tāḥ kṣapāḥ preṣṭhatamena nītā
kṣaṇārdha-vat tāḥ punar aṅga tāsāṁ
hīnā mayā kalpa-samā babhūvuḥ
tāḥ tāḥ — all those; kṣapāḥ — nights; preṣṭha-tamena — with the most dearly beloved; nītāḥ — spent; mayā — with Me; eva — indeed; vṛndāvana — in Vṛndāvana; go-careṇa — who can be known; kṣaṇa — a moment; ardha-vat — like half; tāḥ — those very nights; punaḥ — again; aṅga — dear Uddhava; tāsām — for the gopīs; hīnāḥ — bereft; mayā — of Me; kalpa — a day of Brahmā (4,320,000,000 years); samāḥ — equal to; babhūvuḥ — became.
Dear Uddhava, all of those nights that the gopīs spent with Me, their most dearly beloved, in the land of Vṛndāvana seemed to them to pass in less than a moment. Bereft of My association, however, the gopīs felt that those same nights dragged on forever, as if each night were equal to a day of Brahmā.
tā nāvidan mayy anuṣaṅga-baddha-
dhiyaḥ svam ātmānam adas tathedam
yathā samādhau munayo ’bdhi-toye
nadyaḥ praviṣṭā iva nāma-rūpe
tāḥ — they (the gopīs); na — not; avidan — were aware of; mayi — in Me; anuṣaṅga — by intimate contact; baddha — bound up; dhiyaḥ — their consciousness; svam — their own; ātmānam — body or self; adaḥ — something remote; tathā — thus considering; idam — this which is most near; yathā — just as; samādhau — in yoga-samādhi; munayaḥ — great sages; abdhi — of the ocean; toye — in the water; nadyaḥ — rivers; praviṣṭāḥ — having entered; iva — like; nāma — names; rūpe — and forms.
My dear Uddhava, just as great sages in yoga trance merge into self-realization, like rivers merging into the ocean, and are thus not aware of material names and forms, similarly, the gopīs of Vṛndāvana were so completely attached to Me within their minds that they could not think of their own bodies, or of this world, or of their future lives. Their entire consciousness was simply bound up in Me.
mat-kāmā ramaṇaṁ jāram
brahma māṁ paramaṁ prāpuḥ
mat — Me; kāmāḥ — those who desired; ramaṇam — a charming lover; jāram — the lover of another’s wife; asvarūpa-vidaḥ — not knowing My actual situation; abalāḥ — women; brahma — the Absolute; mām — Me; paramam — supreme; prāpuḥ — they achieved; saṅgāt — by association; śata-sahasraśaḥ — by hundreds of thousands.
All those hundreds of thousands of gopīs, understanding Me to be their most charming lover and ardently desiring Me in that way, were unaware of My actual position. Yet by intimately associating with Me, the gopīs attained Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth.
tasmāt tvam uddhavotsṛjya
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca
śrotavyaṁ śrutam eva ca
mām ekam eva śaraṇam
mayā syā hy akuto-bhayaḥ
tasmāt — therefore; tvam — you; uddhava — O Uddhava; utsṛjya — giving up; codanām — the regulations of the Vedas; praticodanām — the injunctions of supplementary Vedic literatures; pravṛttim — injunctions; ca — and; nivṛttim — prohibitions; ca — also; śrotavyam — that which is to be heard; śrutam — that which has been heard; eva — indeed; ca — also; mām — to Me; ekam — alone; eva — actually; śaraṇam — shelter; ātmānam — the Supersoul within the heart; sarva-dehinām — of all conditioned souls; yāhi — you must go; sarva-ātma-bhāvena — with exclusive devotion; mayā — by My mercy; syāḥ — you should be; hi — certainly; akutaḥ-bhayaḥ — free from fear in all circumstances.
Therefore, My dear Uddhava, abandon the Vedic mantras as well as the procedures of supplementary Vedic literatures and their positive and negative injunctions. Disregard that which has been heard and that which is to be heard. Simply take shelter of Me alone, for I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated within the heart of all conditioned souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, and by My grace be free from fear in all circumstances.
saṁśayaḥ śṛṇvato vācaṁ
na nivartata ātma-stho
yena bhrāmyati me manaḥ
śrī-uddhavaḥ uvāca — Śrī Uddhava said; saṁśayaḥ — doubt; śṛṇvataḥ — of the one who is hearing; vācam — the words; tava — Your; yoga-īśvara — of the lords of mystic power; īśvara — You who are the Lord; na nivartate — will not go away; ātma — in the heart; sthaḥ — situated; yena — by which; bhrāmyati — is bewildered; me — my; manaḥ — mind.
Śrī Uddhava said: O Lord of all masters of mystic power, I have heard Your words, but the doubt in my heart does not go away; thus my mind is bewildered.
sa eṣa jīvo vivara-prasūtiḥ
prāṇena ghoṣeṇa guhāṁ praviṣṭaḥ
mano-mayaṁ sūkṣmam upetya rūpaṁ
mātrā svaro varṇa iti sthaviṣṭhaḥ
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; saḥ eṣaḥ — He Himself; jīvaḥ — the Supreme Lord, who gives life to all; vivara — within the heart; prasūtiḥ — manifest; prāṇena — along with the life air; ghoṣeṇa — with the subtle manifestation of sound; guhām — the heart; praviṣṭaḥ — who has entered; manaḥ-mayam — perceived by the mind, or controlling the mind even of great demigods like Lord Śiva; sūkṣmam — subtle; upetya — being situated in; rūpam — the form; mātrā — the different vocalic lengths; svaraḥ — the different intonations; varṇaḥ — the different sounds of the alphabet; iti — thus; sthaviṣṭhaḥ — the gross form.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, the Supreme Lord gives life to every living being and is situated within the heart along with the life air and primal sound vibration. The Lord can be perceived in His subtle form within the heart by one’s mind, since the Lord controls the minds of everyone, even great demigods like Lord Śiva. The Supreme Lord also assumes a gross form as the various sounds of the Vedas, composed of short and long vowels and consonants of different intonations.
yathānalaḥ khe ’nila-bandhur uṣmā
balena dāruṇy adhimathyamānaḥ
aṇuḥ prajāto haviṣā samedhate
tathaiva me vyaktir iyaṁ hi vāṇī
yathā — just as; analaḥ — fire; khe — in the space within wood; anila — air; bandhuḥ — whose help; uṣmā — heat; balena — strongly; dāruṇi — within the wood; adhimathyamānaḥ — being kindled by friction; aṇuḥ — very tiny; prajātaḥ — is born; haviṣā — with ghee (clarified butter); samedhate — it increases; tathā — similarly; eva — indeed; me — My; vyaktiḥ — manifestation; iyam — this; hi — certainly; vāṇī — the Vedic sounds.
When sticks of kindling wood are vigorously rubbed together, heat is produced by contact with air, and a spark of fire appears. Once the fire is kindled, ghee is added and the fire blazes. Similarly, I become manifest in the sound vibration of the Vedas.
evaṁ gadiḥ karma gatir visargo
ghrāṇo raso dṛk sparśaḥ śrutiś ca
evam — thus; gadiḥ — speech; karma — the function of the hands; gatiḥ — the function of the legs; visargaḥ — the functions of the genitals and anus; ghrāṇaḥ — smell; rasaḥ — taste; dṛk — sight; sparśaḥ — touch; śrutiḥ — hearing; ca — also; saṅkalpa — the mind’s function; vijñānam — the function of intelligence and consciousness; atha — moreover; abhimānaḥ — the function of false ego; sūtram — the function of pradhāna, or the subtle cause of material nature; rajaḥ — of the mode of passion; sattva — goodness; tamaḥ — and of ignorance; vikāraḥ — the transformation.
The functions of the working senses — the organ of speech, the hands, the legs, the genitals and the anus — and the functions of the knowledge-acquiring senses — the nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears — along with the functions of the subtle senses of mind, intelligence, consciousness and false ego, as well as the function of the subtle pradhāna and the interaction of the three modes of material nature — all these should be understood as My materially manifest form.
ayaṁ hi jīvas tri-vṛd abja-yonir
avyakta eko vayasā sa ādyaḥ
viśliṣṭa-śaktir bahudheva bhāti
bījāni yoniṁ pratipadya yadvat
ayam — this; hi — certainly; jīvaḥ — the supreme living entity who gives life to others; tri-vṛt — containing the three modes of material nature; abja — of the universal lotus flower; yoniḥ — the source; avyaktaḥ — unmanifest (materially); ekaḥ — alone; vayasā — in course of time; saḥ — He; ādyaḥ — eternal; viśliṣṭa — divided; śaktiḥ — potencies; bahudhā — in many divisions; iva — like; bhāti — He appears; bījāni — seeds; yonim — in an agricultural field; pratipadya — falling; yat-vat — just like.
When many seeds are placed in an agricultural field, innumerable manifestations of trees, bushes, vegetables and so on will arise from a single source, the soil. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives life to all and is eternal, originally exists beyond the scope of the cosmic manifestation. In the course of time, however, the Lord, who is the resting place of the three modes of nature and the source of the universal lotus flower, in which the cosmic manifestation takes place, divides His material potencies and thus appears to be manifest in innumerable forms, although He is one.
yasminn idaṁ protam aśeṣam otaṁ
paṭo yathā tantu-vitāna-saṁsthaḥ
ya eṣa saṁsāra-taruḥ purāṇaḥ
karmātmakaḥ puṣpa-phale prasūte
yasmin — in whom; idam — this universe; protam — woven crosswise; aśeṣam — the whole; otam — and lengthwise; paṭaḥ — a cloth; yathā — just like; tantu — of the threads; vitāna — in the expansion; saṁsthaḥ — situated; yaḥ — that which; eṣaḥ — this; saṁsāra — of material existence; taruḥ — the tree; purāṇaḥ — existing since time immemorial; karma — toward fruitive activities; ātmakaḥ — naturally inclined; puṣpa — the first result, blossoming; phale — and the fruit; prasūte — being produced.
Just as woven cloth rests on the expansion of lengthwise and crosswise threads, similarly the entire universe is expanded on the lengthwise and crosswise potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is situated within Him. The conditioned soul has been accepting material bodies since time immemorial, and these bodies are like great trees sustaining one’s material existence. Just as a tree first blossoms and then produces fruit, similarly the tree of material existence, one’s material body, produces the various results of material existence.
dve asya bīje śata-mūlas tri-nālaḥ
tri-valkalo dvi-phalo ’rkaṁ praviṣṭaḥ
adanti caikaṁ phalam asya gṛdhrā
grāme-carā ekam araṇya-vāsāḥ
haṁsā ya ekaṁ bahu-rūpam ijyair
māyā-mayaṁ veda sa veda vedam
dve — two; asya — of this tree; bīje — seeds; śata — hundreds; mūlaḥ — of roots; tri — three; nālaḥ — lower trunks; pañca — five; skandhaḥ — upper trunks; pañca — five; rasa — saps; prasūtiḥ — producing; daśa — ten; eka — plus one; śākhaḥ — branches; dvi — two; suparṇa — of birds; nīḍaḥ — a nest; tri — three; valkalaḥ — types of bark; dvi — two; phalaḥ — fruits; arkam — the sun; praviṣṭaḥ — extending into; adanti — they eat or enjoy; ca — also; ekam — one; phalam — fruit; asya — of this tree; gṛdhrāḥ — those who are lusty for material enjoyment; grāme — in householder life; carāḥ — living; ekam — another; araṇya — in the forest; vāsāḥ — those who live; haṁsāḥ — swanlike men, saintly persons; yaḥ — one who; ekam — one only, the Supersoul; bahu-rūpam — appearing in many forms; ijyaiḥ — by the help of those who are worshipable, the spiritual masters; māyā-mayam — produced by the potency of the Supreme Lord; veda — knows; saḥ — such a person; veda — knows; vedam — the actual meaning of the Vedic literature.
This tree of material existence has two seeds, hundreds of roots, three lower trunks and five upper trunks. It produces five flavors and has eleven branches and a nest made by two birds. The tree is covered by three types of bark, gives two fruits and extends up to the sun. Those lusty after material enjoyment and dedicated to family life enjoy one of the tree’s fruits, and swanlike men in the renounced order of life enjoy the other fruit. One who with the help of the bona fide spiritual masters can understand this tree to be a manifestation of the potency of the one Supreme Truth appearing in many forms actually knows the meaning of the Vedic literature.
vidyā-kuṭhāreṇa śitena dhīraḥ
vivṛścya jīvāśayam apramattaḥ
sampadya cātmānam atha tyajāstram
evam — thus (with the knowledge I have given you); guru — of the spiritual master; upāsanayā — developed by worship; eka — unalloyed; bhaktyā — by loving devotional service; vidyā — of knowledge; kuṭhāreṇa — by the ax; śitena — sharp; dhīraḥ — one who is steady by knowledge; vivṛścya — cutting down; jīva — of the living entity; āśayam — the subtle body (filled with designations created by the three modes of material nature); apramattaḥ — being very careful in spiritual life; sampadya — achieving; ca — and; ātmānam — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; atha — then; tyaja — you should give up; astram — the means by which you achieved perfection.
With steady intelligence you should develop unalloyed devotional service by careful worship of the spiritual master, and with the sharpened ax of transcendental knowledge you should cut off the subtle material covering of the soul. Upon realizing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you should then give up that ax of analytic knowledge.