Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 11 Chapter 3
Liberation from the Illusory Energy
parasya viṣṇor īśasya
māyinām api mohinīm
māyāṁ veditum icchāmo
bhagavanto bruvantu naḥ
śrī-rājā uvāca — the King said; parasya — of the Supreme; viṣṇoḥ — Viṣṇu; īśasya — the Lord; māyinām — for the possessors of great mystic power; api — even; mohinīm — which is bewildering; māyām — the illusory potency; veditum — to understand; icchāmaḥ — we desire; bhagavantaḥ — my lords; bruvantu — please tell this; naḥ — to us.
King Nimi said: Now we wish to learn about the illusory potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Viṣṇu, which bewilders even great mystics. My lords, please speak to us about this subject.
nānutṛpye juṣan yuṣmad-
na anutṛpye — I am not yet satiated; juṣan — engaging; yuṣmat — your; vacaḥ — in the words; hari-kathā — of the topics of the Supreme Lord, Hari; amṛtam — the nectar; saṁsāra — of material existence; tāpa — by the misery; nistaptaḥ — tormented; martyaḥ — a mortal human; tat-tāpa — of that pain; bheṣajam — the medical treatment.
Although I am drinking the nectar of your statements about the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, my thirst is not yet satiated. Such nectarean descriptions of the Lord and His devotees are the actual medicine for conditioned souls like me, who are tormented by the threefold miseries of material existence.
ebhir bhūtāni bhūtātmā
śrī-antarīkṣaḥ uvāca — Śrī Antarīkṣa said; ebhiḥ — by these (material elements); bhūtāni — creatures; bhūta-ātmā — the Soul of all creation; mahā-bhūtaiḥ — by the elements of the mahat-tattva; mahā-bhuja — O mighty-armed King; sasarja — He created; ucca-avacāni — both high and low; ādyaḥ — the original person; sva — of His own parts and parcels; mātrā — the sense gratification; ātma — and the self-realization; prasiddhaye — for facilitating.
Śrī Antarīkṣa said: O mighty-armed King, by activating the material elements, the primeval Soul of all creation has sent forth all living beings in higher and lower species so that these conditioned souls can cultivate either sense gratification or ultimate liberation, according to their desire.
evaṁ sṛṣṭāni bhūtāni
vibhajan juṣate guṇān
evam — in the manner just described; sṛṣṭāni — created; bhūtāni — the living beings; praviṣṭaḥ — having entered; pañca-dhātubhiḥ — (created) by the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether); ekadhā — onefold (as the overseer of the mind); daśadhā — tenfold (as the overseer of the five senses of perception and five organs of action); ātmānam — Himself; vibhajan — dividing; juṣate — He engages (He causes the individual soul to engage); guṇān — with the material modes.
The Supersoul enters the material bodies of the created beings, activates the mind and senses, and thus causes the conditioned souls to approach the three modes of material nature for sense gratification.
guṇair guṇān sa bhuñjāna
manyamāna idaṁ sṛṣṭam
ātmānam iha sajjate
guṇaiḥ — with the modes (the senses); guṇān — the modes (the objects of the senses); saḥ — he (the individual living being); bhuñjānaḥ — enjoying; ātma — by the Supreme Soul; pradyotitaiḥ — enlivened; prabhuḥ — the master; manyamānaḥ — thinking; idam — this; sṛṣṭam — created (body); ātmānam — as his own self; iha — in this; sajjate — he becomes entangled.
The individual living being, the master of the material body, uses his material senses, which have been activated by the Supersoul, to try to enjoy sense objects composed of the three modes of nature. Thus he misidentifies the created material body with the unborn eternal self and becomes entangled in the illusory energy of the Lord.
karmāṇi karmabhiḥ kurvan
tat tat karma-phalaṁ gṛhṇan
karmāṇi — various kinds of fruitive work; karmabhiḥ — by the karmendriyas, the organs of action; kurvan — performing; sa-nimittāni — which are imbued with motivating desires; deha-bhṛt — the proprietor of the material body; tat tat — various; karma-phalam — results of work; gṛhṇan — accepting; bhramati — he wanders; iha — throughout this world; sukha — happiness; itaram — and otherwise.
Impelled by deep-rooted material desires, the embodied living entity engages his active sense organs in fruitive activities. He then experiences the results of his material actions by wandering throughout this world in so-called happiness and distress.
itthaṁ karma-gatīr gacchan
pralayāv aśnute ’vaśaḥ
ittham — in this way; karma-gatīḥ — the destinations determined by his past activities; gacchan — obtaining; bahu-abhadra — much that is inauspicious; vahāḥ — which involve; pumān — the living being; ābhūta-samplavāt — until the dissolution of the created universe; sarga-pralayau — birth and death; aśnute — he experiences; avaśaḥ — helplessly.
Thus the conditioned living entity is forced to experience repeated birth and death. Impelled by the reactions of his own activities, he helplessly wanders from one inauspicious situation to another, suffering from the moment of creation until the time of cosmic annihilation.
dhātu — of the material elements; upaplave — the dissolution; āsanne — when it has become imminent; vyaktam — the manifest cosmos; dravya — gross objects; guṇa — and the subtle modes; ātmakam — consisting of; anādi — without beginning; nidhanaḥ — or end; kālaḥ — time; hi — indeed; avyaktāya — into the unmanifest; apakarṣati — draws.
When the annihilation of the material elements is imminent, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form of eternal time withdraws the manifest cosmos, consisting of gross and subtle features, and the entire universe vanishes into nonmanifestation.
śata-varṣā hy anāvṛṣṭir
bhaviṣyaty ulbaṇā bhuvi
lokāṁs trīn pratapiṣyati
śata-varṣā — lasting one hundred years; hi — indeed; anāvṛṣṭiḥ — drought; bhaviṣyati — there will be; ulbaṇā — terrible; bhuvi — on the earth; tat-kāla — in that duration of time; upacita — accumulated; uṣṇa — whose heat; arkaḥ — the sun; lokān — the worlds; trīn — three; pratapiṣyati — will greatly burn.
As cosmic annihilation approaches, a terrible drought takes place on earth for one hundred years. For one hundred years the heat of the sun gradually increases, and its blazing heat begins to torment the three worlds.
dahann ūrdhva-śikho viṣvag
pātāla-talam — the planet Pātāla; ārabhya — beginning from; saṅkarṣaṇa-mukha — from the mouth of the Supreme Lord in His form as Saṅkarṣaṇa; analaḥ — the fire; dahan — burning; ūrdhva-śikhaḥ — its flame going upward; viṣvak — all the directions; vardhate — grows; vāyunā — by winds; īritaḥ — impelled.
Beginning from Pātālaloka, a fire grows, emanating from the mouth of Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa. Its flames shooting upward, driven by great winds, it scorches everything in all directions.
varṣati sma śataṁ samāḥ
līyate salile virāṭ
saṁvartakaḥ — of annihilation; megha-gaṇaḥ — hordes of clouds; varṣati — will rain; sma — indeed; śatam samāḥ — for one hundred years; dhārābhiḥ — with torrents; hasti-hastābhiḥ — (raindrops measuring the length of) elephant trunks; līyate — will merge; salile — in the water; virāṭ — the entire universe.
Hordes of clouds called Saṁvartaka pour torrents of rain for one hundred years. Flooding down in raindrops as long as the trunk of an elephant, the deadly rainfall submerges the entire universe in water.
tato virājam utsṛjya
vairājaḥ puruṣo nṛpa
avyaktaṁ viśate sūkṣmaṁ
tataḥ — then; virājam — the universe; utsṛjya — giving up (as his body); vairājaḥ puruṣaḥ — the personality of the universal form (Hiraṇyagarbha Brahmā); nṛpa — O King Nimi; avyaktam — unmanifest nature (the pradhāna); viśate — he enters; sūkṣmam — subtle; nirindhanaḥ — devoid of fuel; iva — like; analaḥ — a fire.
Then Vairāja Brahmā, the soul of the universal form, gives up his universal body, O King, and enters into the subtle unmanifest nature, like a fire that has run out of fuel.
vāyunā hṛta-gandhā bhūḥ
vāyunā — by the wind; hṛta — deprived; gandhā — of its quality of aroma; bhūḥ — the element earth; salilatvāya kalpate — becomes water; salilam — water; tat — by that (the same element, wind); hṛta-rasam — deprived of its quality of taste; jyotiṣṭvāya upakalpate — becomes fire.
Deprived of its quality of aroma by the wind, the element earth is transformed into water; and water, deprived of its taste by that same wind, is merged into fire.
hṛta-rūpaṁ tu tamasā
vāyau jyotiḥ pralīyate
vāyur nabhasi līyate
nabha ātmani līyate
hṛta-rūpam — deprived of its quality of form; tu — certainly; tamasā — by darkness; vāyau — into air; jyotiḥ — fire; pralīyate — merges; hṛta-sparśaḥ — deprived of touch; avakāśena — by the element space; vāyuḥ — air; nabhasi — into space; līyate — merges; kāla-ātmanā — by the Supreme Soul in the form of time; hṛta-guṇam — deprived of its tangible quality; nabhaḥ — space; ātmani — into false ego in the mode of ignorance; līyate — merges.
Fire, deprived of its form by darkness, dissolves into the element air. When the air loses its quality of touch by the influence of space, the air merges into that space. When space is deprived of its tangible quality by the Supreme Soul in the form of time, space merges into false ego in the mode of ignorance.
indriyāṇi mano buddhiḥ
saha vaikārikair nṛpa
praviśanti hy ahaṅkāraṁ
sva-guṇair aham ātmani
indriyāṇi — the senses; manaḥ — the mind; buddhiḥ — intelligence; saha vaikārikaiḥ — along with the demigods, who are products of false ego in the mode of goodness; nṛpa — O King; praviśanti — they enter; hi — indeed; ahaṅkāram — the element ego; sva-guṇaiḥ — along with its qualities (goodness, passion and ignorance); aham — ego; ātmani — into the mahat-tattva.
My dear King, the material senses and intelligence merge into false ego in the mode of passion, from which they arose; and the mind, along with the demigods, merges into false ego in the mode of goodness. Then the total false ego, along with all of its qualities, merges into the mahat-tattva.
eṣā māyā bhagavataḥ
kiṁ bhūyaḥ śrotum icchasi
eṣā — this; māyā — material energy; bhagavataḥ — of the Supreme Lord; sarga — of creation; sthiti — maintenance; anta — and dissolution (of this universe); kāriṇī — the agent; tri-varṇā — consisting of three modes (goodness, passion and ignorance); varṇitā — has been described; asmābhiḥ — by us; kim — what; bhūyaḥ — further; śrotum — to hear; icchasi — do you wish.
I have now described māyā, the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This illusory potency, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is empowered by the Lord for the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the material universe. Now, what more do you wish to hear?
yathaitām aiśvarīṁ māyāṁ
taranty añjaḥ sthūla-dhiyo
maharṣa idam ucyatām
śrī-rājā uvāca — King Nimi said; yathā — how; etām — this; aiśvarīm — of the Supreme Lord; māyām — material energy; dustarām — unsurpassable; akṛta-ātmabhiḥ — by those who are not self-controlled; taranti — they may cross over; añjaḥ — easily; sthūla-dhiyaḥ — persons whose intelligence is dulled by materialistic attachments; maha-ṛṣe — O great sage; idam — this; ucyatām — please tell.
King Nimi said: O great sage, please explain how even a foolish materialist can easily cross over the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord, which is always insurmountable for those who are not self-controlled.
duḥkha-hatyai sukhāya ca
śrī-prabuddhaḥ uvāca — Śrī Prabuddha said; karmāṇi — fruitive activities; ārabhamāṇānām — making endeavors in; duḥkha-hatyai — for the elimination of distress; sukhāya ca — and for gaining happiness; paśyet — one should see; pāka — of the result; viparyāsam — contrary outcome; mithunī-cāriṇām — who are coupled as men and women; nṛṇām — of such persons.
Śrī Prabuddha said: Accepting the roles of male and female in human society, the conditioned souls unite in sexual relationships. Thus they constantly make material endeavors to eliminate their unhappiness and unlimitedly increase their pleasure. But one should see that they inevitably achieve exactly the opposite result. In other words, their happiness inevitably vanishes, and as they grow older their material discomfort increases.
kā prītiḥ sādhitaiś calaiḥ
nitya — constantly; ārti-dena — giving pain; vittena — with wealth; durlabhena — hard to acquire; ātma-mṛtyunā — death for the self; gṛha — with one’s home; apatya — children; āpta — relatives; paśubhiḥ — and domestic animals; kā — what; prītiḥ — happiness; sādhitaiḥ — which are gained (by that wealth); calaiḥ — unsteady.
Wealth is a perpetual source of distress, it is most difficult to acquire, and it is virtual death for the soul. What satisfaction does one actually gain from his wealth? Similarly, how can one gain ultimate or permanent happiness from one’s so-called home, children, relatives and domestic animals, which are all maintained by one’s hard-earned money?
evaṁ lokaṁ paraṁ vidyān
evam — in this way; lokam — the world; param — next (after this life); vidyāt — one should understand as; naśvaram — impermanent; karma-nirmitam — created from fruitive work; sa-tulya — characterized by (the rivalry of) equals; atiśaya — and superiors; dhvaṁsam — and by ruination; yathā — as; maṇḍala-vartinām — (the rivalries) of minor rulers.
One cannot find permanent happiness even on the heavenly planets, which one can attain in the next life by ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices. Even in material heaven the living entity is disturbed by rivalry with his equals and envy of those superior to him. And since one’s residence in heaven is finished with the exhaustion of pious fruitive activities, the denizens of heaven are afflicted by fear, anticipating the destruction of their heavenly life. Thus they resemble kings who, though enviously admired by ordinary citizens, are constantly harassed by enemy kings and who therefore never attain actual happiness.
tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta
jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ
tasmāt — therefore; gurum — a spiritual master; prapadyeta — one should take shelter of; jijñāsuḥ — being inquisitive; śreyaḥ uttamam — about the highest good; śābde — in the Vedas; pare — in the Supreme; ca — and; niṣṇātam — perfectly knowledgeable; brahmaṇi — (in these two aspects) of the Absolute Truth; upaśama-āśrayam — fixed in detachment from material affairs.
Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.
tatra bhāgavatān dharmān
tuṣyed ātmātma-do hariḥ
tatra — there (in the association of the spiritual master); bhāgavatān dharmān — the science of devotional service; śikṣet — should learn; guru-ātma-daivataḥ — he for whom the spiritual master is his very life and worshipable deity; amāyayā — without deceit; anuvṛttyā — by faithful service; yaiḥ — by which (devotional science); tuṣyet — can be satisfied; ātmā — the Supreme Soul; ātma-daḥ — who bestows His own self; hariḥ — Lord Hari.
Accepting the bona fide spiritual master as one’s life and soul and worshipable deity, the disciple should learn from him the process of pure devotional service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, the soul of all souls, is inclined to give Himself to His pure devotees. Therefore, the disciple should learn from the spiritual master to serve the Lord without duplicity and in such a faithful and favorable way that the Supreme Lord, being satisfied, will offer Himself to the faithful disciple.
sarvato manaso ’saṅgam
ādau saṅgaṁ ca sādhuṣu
dayāṁ maitrīṁ praśrayaṁ ca
bhūteṣv addhā yathocitam
sarvataḥ — everywhere; manasaḥ — of the mind; asaṅgam — detachment; ādau — in the beginning; saṅgam — association; ca — and; sādhuṣu — with saintly persons; dayām — mercy; maitrīm — friendship; praśrayam — reverence; ca — and; bhūteṣu — for all living beings; addhā — thus; yathā ucitam — as is suitable.
A sincere disciple should learn to dissociate the mind from everything material and positively cultivate association with his spiritual master and other saintly devotees. He should be merciful to those in an inferior position to him, cultivate friendship with those on an equal level and meekly serve those in a higher spiritual position. Thus he should learn to deal properly with all living beings.
śaucaṁ tapas titikṣāṁ ca
maunaṁ svādhyāyam ārjavam
brahmacaryam ahiṁsāṁ ca
śaucam — cleanliness; tapaḥ — austerity; titikṣām — tolerance; ca — and; maunam — silence; svādhyāyam — study of the Vedas; ārjavam — simplicity; brahmacaryam — celibacy; ahiṁsām — nonviolence; ca — and; samatvam — equanimity; dvandva-saṁjñayoḥ — in situations perceived in terms of duality.
To serve the spiritual master the disciple should learn cleanliness, austerity, tolerance, silence, study of Vedic knowledge, simplicity, celibacy, nonviolence, and equanimity in the face of material dualities such as heat and cold, happiness and distress.
santoṣaṁ yena kenacit
sarvatra — everywhere; ātma — for one’s true self; īśvara — and for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anvīkṣām — meditation by keeping continuously in view; kaivalyam — solitude; aniketatām — having no fixed residence; vivikta-cīra — scraps of cloth found in unfrequented places; vasanam — wearing; santoṣam — satisfaction; yena kenacit — with anything.
One should practice meditation by constantly seeing oneself to be an eternal cognizant spirit soul and seeing the Lord to be the absolute controller of everything. To increase one’s meditation, one should live in a secluded place and give up false attachment to one’s home and household paraphernalia. Giving up the decorations of the temporary material body, one should dress himself with scraps of cloth found in rejected places, or with the bark of trees. In this way one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation.
śraddhāṁ bhāgavate śāstre
’nindām anyatra cāpi hi
satyaṁ śama-damāv api
śraddhām — faith; bhāgavate — related to the Supreme Lord; śāstre — in scripture; anindām — not blaspheming; anyatra — others; ca — also; api hi — indeed; manaḥ — of the mind; vāk — speech; karma — and one’s activities; daṇḍam — strict control; ca — and; satyam — truthfulness; śama — self-control of the mind; damau — and of the external senses; api — also.
One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. At the same time, one should avoid blaspheming other scriptures. One should rigidly control his mind, speech and bodily activities, always speak the truth, and bring the mind and senses under full control.
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ dhyānaṁ
iṣṭaṁ dattaṁ tapo japtaṁ
vṛttaṁ yac cātmanaḥ priyam
dārān sutān gṛhān prāṇān
yat parasmai nivedanam
śravaṇam — hearing; kīrtanam — chanting; dhyānam — and meditation; hareḥ — of the Supreme Lord, Hari; adbhuta-karmaṇaḥ — whose activities are wonderful; janma — of His incarnations; karma — pastimes; guṇānām — transcendental qualities; ca — and; tat-arthe — for His sake; akhila — all; ceṣṭitam — endeavors; iṣṭam — whatever worship one performs; dattam — whatever charity; tapaḥ — penance; japtam — whatever mantras one chants; vṛttam — pious activities performed; yat — what; ca — also; ātmanaḥ — to oneself; priyam — dear; dārān — wife; sutān — sons; gṛhān — home; prāṇān — vital air; yat — which; parasmai — unto the Supreme; nivedanam — offering.
One should hear, glorify and meditate upon the wonderful transcendental activities of the Lord. One should specifically become absorbed in the appearance, activities, qualities and holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus inspired, one should perform all of one’s daily activities as an offering to the Lord. One should perform sacrifice, charity and penance exclusively for the Lord’s satisfaction. Similarly, one should chant only those mantras which glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And all one’s religious activities should be performed as an offering to the Lord. Whatever one finds pleasing or enjoyable he should immediately offer to the Supreme Lord, and even his wife, children, home and very life air he should offer at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
manuṣyeṣu ca sauhṛdam
mahatsu nṛṣu sādhuṣu
evam — thus; kṛṣṇa-ātma-nātheṣu — for those who take Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Lord of their soul; manuṣyeṣu — humans; ca — and; sauhṛdam — friendship; paricaryām — service; ca — and; ubhayatra — rendered to both (moving and nonmoving creatures, or the Lord and His devotees); mahatsu — (especially) to the pure devotees of the Lord; nṛṣu — to human beings; sādhuṣu — those who are fixed in saintly behavior.
One who desires his ultimate self-interest should cultivate friendship with those persons who have accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Lord of their life. One should further develop an attitude of service toward all living beings. One should especially try to help those in the human form of life and, among them, especially those who accept the principles of religious behavior. Among religious persons, one should especially render service to the pure devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
mitho ratir mithas tuṣṭir
nivṛttir mitha ātmanaḥ
paraspara — mutual; anukathanam — discussion; pāvanam — purifying; bhagavat — of the Supreme Lord; yaśaḥ — glories; mithaḥ — mutual; ratiḥ — loving attraction; mithaḥ — mutual; tuṣṭiḥ — satisfaction; nivṛttiḥ — cessation of material miseries; mithaḥ — mutual; ātmanaḥ — of the soul.
One should learn how to associate with the devotees of the Lord by gathering with them to chant the glories of the Lord. This process is most purifying. As devotees thus develop their loving friendship, they feel mutual happiness and satisfaction. And by thus encouraging one another they are able to give up material sense gratification, which is the cause of all suffering.
smarantaḥ smārayantaś ca
mitho ’ghaugha-haraṁ harim
bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā
bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum
smarantaḥ — remembering; smārayantaḥ ca — and reminding; mithaḥ — one another; agha-ogha-haram — who takes away everything inauspicious from the devotee; harim — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhaktyā — by devotion; sañjātayā — awakened; bhaktyā — by devotion; bibhrati — possess; utpulakām — agitated by ecstasy; tanum — body.
The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away from them everything inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end.
kvacid rudanty acyuta-cintayā kvacid
dhasanti nandanti vadanty alaukikāḥ
nṛtyanti gāyanty anuśīlayanty ajaṁ
bhavanti tūṣṇīṁ param etya nirvṛtāḥ
kvacit — sometimes; rudanti — they cry; acyuta — of the infallible Supreme Lord; cintayā — by the thought; kvacit — sometimes; hasanti — they laugh; nandanti — take great pleasure; vadanti — speak; alaukikāḥ — acting amazingly; nṛtyanti — they dance; gāyanti — sing; anuśīlayanti — and imitate; ajam — the unborn; bhavanti — they become; tūṣṇīm — silent; param — the Supreme; etya — obtaining; nirvṛtāḥ — freed from distress.
Having achieved love of Godhead, the devotees sometimes weep loudly, absorbed in thought of the infallible Lord. Sometimes they laugh, feel great pleasure, speak out loud to the Lord, dance or sing. Such devotees, having transcended material, conditioned life, sometimes imitate the unborn Supreme by acting out His pastimes. And sometimes, achieving His personal audience, they remain peaceful and silent.
iti bhāgavatān dharmān
śikṣan bhaktyā tad-utthayā
añjas tarati dustarām
iti — thus; bhāgavatān dharmān — the science of devotional service; śikṣan — studying; bhaktyā — by devotion; tat-utthayā — generated by it; nārāyaṇa-paraḥ — completely devoted to the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa; māyām — the illusory energy; añjaḥ — easily; tarati — crosses beyond; dustarām — impossible to cross.
Thus learning the science of devotional service and practically engaging in the devotional service of the Lord, the devotee comes to the stage of love of Godhead. And by complete devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, the devotee easily crosses over the illusory energy, māyā, which is extremely difficult to cross.
niṣṭhām arhatha no vaktuṁ
yūyaṁ hi brahma-vittamāḥ
śrī-rājā uvāca — the King said; nārāyaṇa-abhidhānasya — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, named Nārāyaṇa; brahmaṇaḥ — of the Absolute Truth; parama-ātmanaḥ — of the Supersoul; niṣṭhām — the transcendental situation; arhatha — you may kindly; naḥ — to us; vaktum — speak; yūyam — all of you; hi — indeed; brahma-vit-tamāḥ — the most expert knowers of the Supreme.
King Nimi inquired: Please explain to me the transcendental situation of the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa, who is Himself the Absolute Truth and the Supersoul of everyone. You can explain this to me, because you are all most expert in transcendental knowledge.
sthity-udbhava-pralaya-hetur ahetur asya
yat svapna-jāgara-suṣuptiṣu sad bahiś ca
dehendriyāsu-hṛdayāni caranti yena
sañjīvitāni tad avehi paraṁ narendra
śrī-pippalāyanaḥ uvāca — Śrī Pippalāyana said; sthiti — of maintenance; udbhava — of the creation; pralaya — and destruction; hetuḥ — the cause; ahetuḥ — itself without cause; asya — of this material universe; yat — which; svapna — in dream; jāgara — wakefulness; suṣuptiṣu — in deep sleep or unconsciousness; sat — which exists; bahiḥ ca — and external to them as well; deha — of the material bodies of the living entities; indriya — the senses; āsu — life airs; hṛdayāni — and minds; caranti — act; yena — by which; sañjīvitāni — given life; tat — that; avehi — please know; param — to be the Supreme; nara-indra — O King.
Śrī Pippalāyana said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. My dear King, know that Personality of Godhead to be the Supreme.
naitan mano viśati vāg uta cakṣur ātmā
prāṇendriyāṇi ca yathānalam arciṣaḥ svāḥ
śabdo ’pi bodhaka-niṣedhatayātma-mūlam
arthoktam āha yad-ṛte na niṣedha-siddhiḥ
na — cannot; etat — this (Supreme Truth); manaḥ — the mind; viśati — enter; vāk — the function of speech; uta — nor; cakṣuḥ — sight; ātmā — intelligence; prāṇa — the subtle airs supporting life; indriyāṇi — the senses; ca — or; yathā — just as; analam — a fire; arciṣaḥ — its sparks; svāḥ — own; śabdaḥ — the authoritative sound of the Vedas; api — even; bodhaka — being able to indicate by verbal reference; niṣedhatayā — because of denying such; ātma — of the Supreme Soul; mūlam — basic evidence; artha-uktam — expressed indirectly; āha — does express; yat-ṛte — without which (Supreme); na — there is not; niṣedha — of the negative statements of scripture; siddhiḥ — ultimate purpose.
Neither the mind nor the faculties of speech, sight, intelligence, the life air or any of the senses are capable of penetrating that Supreme Truth, any more than small sparks can affect the original fire from which they are generated. Not even the authoritative language of the Vedas can perfectly describe the Supreme Truth, since the Vedas themselves disclaim the possibility that the Truth can be expressed by words. But through indirect reference the Vedic sound does serve as evidence of the Supreme Truth, since without the existence of that Supreme Truth the various restrictions found in the Vedas would have no ultimate purpose.
sattvaṁ rajas tama iti tri-vṛd ekam ādau
sūtraṁ mahān aham iti pravadanti jīvam
brahmaiva bhāti sad asac ca tayoḥ paraṁ yat
sattvam — goodness; rajaḥ — passion; tamaḥ — and ignorance; iti — thus known; tri-vṛt — threefold; ekam — one; ādau — in the beginning, before creation; sūtram — the power to act; mahān — the power of consciousness; aham — and the false ego; iti — thus; pravadanti — is called; jīvam — (false ego, which covers) the living entity; jñāna — the demigods as the embodiment of knowledge; kriyā — the senses; artha — sense objects; phala — and fruitive results such as happiness and distress; rūpatayā — assuming the forms; uru-śakti — possessing great varieties of energy; brahma eva — the Supreme alone; bhāti — is manifest; sat asat ca — as both gross objects and their subtle causes; tayoḥ — both; param — beyond; yat — which is.
Originally one, the Absolute, Brahman, comes to be known as threefold, manifesting itself as the three modes of material nature — goodness, passion and ignorance. Brahman further expands its potency, and thus the power to act and the power of consciousness become manifest, along with the false ego, which covers the identity of the conditioned living being. Thus, by the expansion of the multipotencies of the Absolute, the demigods, as the embodiment of knowledge, become manifest, along with the material senses, their objects, and the results of material activity, namely happiness and distress. In this way the manifestation of the material world takes place as the subtle cause and as the material effect visible in the appearance of gross material objects. Brahman, which is the source of all subtle and gross manifestations, is simultaneously transcendental to them, being absolute.
nātmā jajāna na mariṣyati naidhate ’sau
na kṣīyate savana-vid vyabhicāriṇāṁ hi
sarvatra śaśvad anapāyy upalabdhi-mātraṁ
prāṇo yathendriya-balena vikalpitaṁ sat
na — never; ātmā — the soul; jajāna — was born; na — never; mariṣyati — will die; na — does not; edhate — grow; asau — this; na — does not; kṣīyate — become diminished; savana-vit — the knower of these phases of time; vyabhicāriṇām — as they occur in other, changing beings; hi — indeed; sarvatra — everywhere; śaśvat — constantly; anapāyi — never disappearing; upalabdhi-mātram — pure consciousness; prāṇaḥ yathā — just like the life air within the body; indriya-balena — by the force of the senses; vikalpitam — imagined as divided; sat — becoming.
Brahman, the eternal soul, was never born and will never die, nor does it grow or decay. That spiritual soul is actually the knower of the youth, middle age and death of the material body. Thus the soul can be understood to be pure consciousness, existing everywhere at all times and never being destroyed. Just as the life air within the body, although one, becomes manifest as many in contact with the various material senses, the one soul appears to assume various material designations in contact with the material body.
aṇḍeṣu peśiṣu taruṣv aviniściteṣu
prāṇo hi jīvam upadhāvati tatra tatra
sanne yad indriya-gaṇe ’hami ca prasupte
kūṭa-stha āśayam ṛte tad-anusmṛtir naḥ
aṇḍeṣu — in (species of life born from) eggs; peśiṣu — in embryos; taruṣu — in plants; aviniściteṣu — in species of indeterminate origin (born from perspiration); prāṇaḥ — the vital air; hi — indeed; jīvam — the soul; upadhāvati — follows; tatra tatra — from one species to another; sanne — they are merged; yat — when; indriya-gaṇe — all the senses; ahami — the false ego; ca — also; prasupte — in deep sleep; kūṭa-sthaḥ — unchanging; āśayam — the subtle covering of contaminated consciousness, the liṅga-śarīra; ṛte — without; tat — of that; anusmṛtiḥ — (there is) subsequent remembrance; naḥ — our.
The spirit soul is born in many different species of life within the material world. Some species are born from eggs, others from embryos, others from the seeds of plants and trees, and others from perspiration. But in all species of life the prāṇa, or vital air, remains unchanging and follows the spirit soul from one body to another. Similarly, the spirit soul is eternally the same despite its material condition of life. We have practical experience of this. When we are absorbed in deep sleep without dreaming, the material senses become inactive, and even the mind and false ego are merged into a dormant condition. But although the senses, mind and false ego are inactive, one remembers upon waking that he, the soul, was peacefully sleeping.
ceto-malāni vidhamed guṇa-karma-jāni
tasmin viśuddha upalabhyata ātma-tattvaṁ
śākṣād yathāmala-dṛśoḥ savitṛ-prakāśaḥ
yarhi — when; abja-nābha — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose navel is shaped like a lotus; caraṇa — the feet; eṣaṇayā — desiring (only); uru-bhaktyā — by powerful devotional service; cetaḥ — of the heart; malāni — the dirt; vidhamet — cleanses away; guṇa-karma-jāni — generated from the modes of nature and material activities in those modes; tasmin — in that; viśuddhe — completely purified (heart); upalabhyate — is perceived; ātma-tattvam — the true nature of the self; sākṣāt — directly; yathā — just as; amala-dṛśoḥ — of pure eyes; savitṛ — of the sun; prakāśaḥ — the manifestation.
When one seriously engages in the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead, fixing the Lord’s lotus feet within one’s heart as the only goal of life, one can destroy the innumerable impure desires lodged within the heart as a result of one’s previous fruitive work within the three modes of material nature. When the heart is thus purified one can directly perceive both the Supreme Lord and one’s self as transcendental entities. Thus one becomes perfect in spiritual understanding through direct experience, just as one can directly experience the sunshine through normal, healthy vision.
karma-yogaṁ vadata naḥ
puruṣo yena saṁskṛtaḥ
naiṣkarmyaṁ vindate param
śrī-rājā uvāca — the King said; karma-yogam — the practice of dovetailing one’s work with the Supreme; vadata — please tell; naḥ — us; puruṣaḥ — a person; yena — by which; saṁskṛtaḥ — being refined; vidhūya — getting rid of; iha — in this life; āśu — quickly; karmāṇi — materialistic activities; naiṣkarmyam — freedom from fruitive reactions; vindate — enjoys; param — transcendental.
King Nimi said: O great sages, please speak to us about the process of karma-yoga. Purified by this process of dedicating one’s practical work to the Supreme, a person can very quickly free himself from all material activities, even in this life, and thus enjoy pure life on the transcendental platform.
evaṁ praśnam ṛṣīn pūrvam
apṛcchaṁ pitur antike
nābruvan brahmaṇaḥ putrās
tatra kāraṇam ucyatām
evam — similar; praśnam — a question; ṛṣīn — to the sages; pūrvam — previously; apṛccham — I asked; pituḥ — of my father (Ikṣvāku Mahārāja); antike — in front; na abruvan — they did not speak; brahmaṇaḥ — of Lord Brahmā; putrāḥ — the sons; tatra — of that; kāraṇam — the reason; ucyatām — please say.
Once in the past, in the presence of my father, Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, I placed a similar question before four great sages who were sons of Lord Brahmā. But they did not answer my question. Please explain the reason for this.
veda-vādo na laukikaḥ
tatra muhyanti sūrayaḥ
śrī-āvirhotraḥ uvāca — the sage Āvirhotra said; karma — the execution of duties prescribed by scripture; akarma — failure to perform such duties; vikarma — engagement in forbidden activities; iti — thus; veda-vādaḥ — subject matter understood through the Vedas; na — not; laukikaḥ — mundane; vedasya — of the vedas; ca — and; īśvara-ātmatvāt — because of coming from the Personality of Godhead Himself; tatra — in this matter; muhyanti — become confused; sūrayaḥ — (even) great scholarly authorities.
Śrī Āvirhotra replied: Prescribed duties, nonperformance of such duties, and forbidden activities are topics one can properly understand through authorized study of the Vedic literature. This difficult subject matter can never be understood by mundane speculation. The authorized Vedic literature is the sound incarnation of the Personality of Godhead Himself, and thus Vedic knowledge is perfect. Even the greatest learned scholars are bewildered in their attempts to understand the science of action if they neglect the authority of Vedic knowledge.
parokṣa-vādo vedo ’yaṁ
vidhatte hy agadaṁ yathā
parokṣa-vādaḥ — describing a situation as something else in order to disguise its real nature; vedaḥ — Vedas; ayam — these; bālānām — of childlike persons; anuśāsanam — guidance; karma-mokṣāya — for liberation from material activities; karmāṇi — material activities; vidhatte — prescribe; hi — indeed; agadam — a medicine; yathā — just as.
Childish and foolish people are attached to materialistic, fruitive activities, although the actual goal of life is to become free from such activities. Therefore, the Vedic injunctions indirectly lead one to the path of ultimate liberation by first prescribing fruitive religious activities, just as a father promises his child candy so that the child will take his medicine.
nācared yas tu vedoktaṁ
svayam ajño ’jitendriyaḥ
vikarmaṇā hy adharmeṇa
mṛtyor mṛtyum upaiti saḥ
na ācaret — does not perform; yaḥ — who; tu — but; veda-uktam — what is prescribed in the Vedas; svayam — himself; ajñaḥ — ignorant; ajita-indriyaḥ — not having learned to control his senses; vikarmaṇā — by not executing scriptural duty; hi — indeed; adharmeṇa — by his irreligion; mṛtyoḥ mṛtyum — death after death; upaiti — achieves; saḥ — he.
If an ignorant person who has not conquered the material senses does not adhere to the Vedic injunctions, certainly he will engage in sinful and irreligious activities. Thus his reward will be repeated birth and death.
vedoktam eva kurvāṇo
niḥsaṅgo ’rpitam īśvare
naiṣkarmyaṁ labhate siddhiṁ
veda-uktam — the regulated activities described by the Vedas; eva — certainly; kurvāṇaḥ — performing; nihsaṅgaḥ — without attachment; arpitam — offered; īśvare — to the Supreme Lord; naiṣkarmyam — of liberation from material work and its reactions; labhate — one achieves; siddhim — the perfection; rocana-arthā — for the purpose of giving encouragement; phala-śrutiḥ — the promises of material results given in the Vedic scriptures.
By executing without attachment the regulated activities prescribed in the Vedas, offering the results of such work to the Supreme Lord, one attains the perfection of freedom from the bondage of material work. The material fruitive results offered in the revealed scriptures are not the actual goal of Vedic knowledge, but are meant for stimulating the interest of the performer.
ya āśu hṛdaya-granthiṁ
tantroktena ca keśavam
yaḥ — one who; āśu — quickly; hṛdaya-granthim — the knot of the heart (false identification with the material body); nirjihīrṣuḥ — desirous of cutting; parātmanaḥ — of the transcendental soul; vidhinā — with the regulations; upacaret — he should worship; devam — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tantra-uktena — which are described by the tantras (the supplementary Vedic literatures that give detailed instructions for spiritual practice); ca — as well (in addition to those regulations which are directly vedoktam); keśavam — Lord Keśava.
One who desires to quickly cut the knot of false ego, which binds the spirit soul, should worship the Supreme Lord, Keśava, by the regulations found in Vedic literatures such as the tantras.
labdhvā — having obtained; anugrahaḥ — mercy; ācāryāt — from the spiritual master; tena — by him; sandarśita — being shown; āgamaḥ — (the process of worship given by) the vaiṣṇava-tantras; mahā-puruṣam — the Supreme Person; abhyarcet — the disciple should worship; mūrtyā — in the particular personal form; abhimatayā — which is preferred; ātmanaḥ — by himself.
Having obtained the mercy of his spiritual master, who reveals to the disciple the injunctions of Vedic scriptures, the devotee should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the particular personal form of the Lord the devotee finds most attractive.
śuciḥ sammukham āsīnaḥ
piṇḍaṁ viśodhya sannyāsa-
kṛta-rakṣo ’rcayed dharim
śuciḥ — clean; sammukham — facing (the Deity); āsīnaḥ — thus seated; prāṇa-saṁyamana-ādibhiḥ — by prāṇāyāma (breathing exercises) and other means; piṇḍam — the gross body; viśodhya — purifying; sannyāsa — by placing transcendental marks of tilaka on various places of the body; kṛta-rakṣaḥ — in this way invoking the Lord’s protection; arcayet — one should worship; harim — Lord Hari.
After cleansing oneself, purifying the body by prāṇāyāma, bhūta-śuddhi and other processes, and marking the body with sacred tilaka for protection, one should sit in front of the Deity and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
arcādau hṛdaye cāpi
niṣpādya prokṣya cāsanam
arcā-ādau — in the form of the Deity and His paraphernalia; hṛdaye — in the heart; ca api — also; yathā-labdha — whatever is available; upacārakaiḥ — with ingredients of worship; dravya — the physical items to be offered; kṣiti — the ground; ātma — one’s own mind; liṅgāni — and the Deity; niṣpādya — preparing; prokṣya — sprinkling with water for purification; ca — and; āsanam — one’s seat; pādya-ādīn — the water for bathing the Deity’s feet and other offerings; upakalpya — getting ready; atha — then; sannidhāpya — placing the Deity in His proper place; samāhitaḥ — concentrating one’s attention; hṛt-ādibhiḥ — on the Deity’s heart and other places of the body; kṛta-nyāsaḥ — having drawn sacred marks; mūla-mantreṇa — with the appropriate basic mantra for worshiping the particular Deity; ca — and; arcayet — one should offer worship.
The devotee should gather whatever ingredients for worshiping the Deity are available, make ready the offerings, the ground, his mind and the Deity, sprinkle his sitting place with water for purification and prepare the bathing water and other paraphernalia. The devotee should then place the Deity in His proper place, both physically and within his own mind, concentrate his attention, and mark the Deity’s heart and other parts of the body with tilaka. Then he should offer worship with the appropriate mantra.
tāṁ tāṁ mūrtiṁ sva-mantrataḥ
sāṅgam sampūjya vidhivat
stavaiḥ stutvā named dharim
sa-aṅga — including the limbs of His transcendental body; upāṅgām — and His special bodily features such as His Sudarśana disc and other weapons; sa-pārṣadām — along with His personal associates; tām tām — each particular; mūrtim — Deity; sva-mantrataḥ — by the Deity’s own mantra; pādya — with water for bathing the feet; arghya — scented water for greeting; ācamanīya — water for washing the mouth; ādyaiḥ — and so on; snāna — water for bathing; vāsaḥ — fine clothing; vibhūṣaṇaiḥ — ornaments; gandha — with fragrances; mālya — necklaces; akṣata — unbroken barleycorns; sragbhiḥ — and flower garlands; dhūpa — with incense; dīpa — and lamps; upahārakaiḥ — such offerings; sa-aṅgam — in all aspects; sampūjya — completing the worship; vidhivat — in accordance with the prescribed regulations; stavaiḥ stutvā — honoring the Deity by offering prayers; namet — one should bow down; harim — to the Lord.
One should worship the Deity along with each of the limbs of His transcendental body, His weapons such as the Sudarśana cakra, His other bodily features and His personal associates. One should worship each of these transcendental aspects of the Lord by its own mantra and with offerings of water to wash the feet, scented water, water to wash the mouth, water for bathing, fine clothing and ornaments, fragrant oils, valuable necklaces, unbroken barleycorns, flower garlands, incense and lamps. Having thus completed the worship in all its aspects in accordance with the prescribed regulations, one should then honor the Deity of Lord Hari with prayers and offer obeisances to Him by bowing down.
ātmānam tan-mayam dhyāyan
mūrtiṁ sampūjayed dhareḥ
śeṣām ādhāya śirasā
sva-dhāmny udvāsya sat-kṛtam
ātmānam — oneself; tat — in the Lord; mayam — absorbed; dhyāyan — so meditating; mūrtim — the personal form; sampūjayet — should fully worship; hareḥ — of Lord Hari; śeṣām — the remnants of worship; ādhāya — taking; śirasā — upon one’s head; sva-dhāmni — in His place; udvāsya — putting; sat-kṛtam — respectfully.
The worshiper should become fully absorbed in meditating upon himself as an eternal servant of the Lord and should thus perfectly worship the Deity, remembering that the Deity is also situated within his heart. Then he should take the remnants of the Deity’s paraphernalia, such as flower garlands, upon his head and respectfully put the Deity back in His own place, thus concluding the worship.
atithau hṛdaye ca yaḥ
acirān mucyate hi saḥ
evam — thus; agni — in fire; arka — the sun; toya — water; ādau — and so on; atithau — in the guest at ones’s home; hṛdaye — in one’s heart; ca — also; yaḥ — who; yajati — worships; īśvaram — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātmānam — the Supreme Soul; acirāt — without delay; mucyate — becomes liberated; hi — indeed; saḥ — he.
Thus the worshiper of the Supreme Lord should recognize that the Personality of Godhead is all-pervading and should worship Him through His presence in fire, the sun, water and other elements, in the heart of the guest one receives in one’s home, and also in one’s own heart. In this way the worshiper will very soon achieve liberation.