Go to Vaniquotes | Go to Vanipedia | Go to Vanimedia

Vanisource - the complete essence of Vedic knowledge

RTW 2.13

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

All Perfections Come from Bhakti-yoga

Whatever exists—manifest or unmanifest, material or spiritual—has one primary source: the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. He is the primeval, supreme controller, the cause of all causes, the Lord of all lords. As the Supersoul within the heart, He inspires all the activities of a transcendentally situated devotee. Those who possess true knowledge of the Absolute can render service to Lord Kṛṣṇa in the mood of a servitor, a friend, and so on. Their hearts are always absorbed in thoughts of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and they yearn to perceive and relish His eternal, transcendental pastimes.

By the grace of the Supreme Lord, these unalloyed devotees can unravel the mysteries of His intimate worship. Then, due to their love for the Lord, they find it difficult to maintain their lives without hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord's name, form, qualities, pastimes, associates, and paraphernalia. They seek the association of like-minded devotees, and with them they dive into the ocean of the nectar of devotion. Situated in their spiritual identity, they relish spiritual exchanges and hear, discuss, and remember the all-auspicious topics of Lord Kṛṣṇa's transcendental pastimes, thus practising the ninefold devotional process.

They execute this ninefold devotional service in the stage of sādhana, or practice, and feel deep satisfaction in the perfected, or siddha, stage. They become saturated with the transcendental spiritual mellows of servitorship, friendship, and so on, from which they derive divine ecstasy. Lord Kṛṣṇa grants genuine transcendental understanding, buddhi-yoga, to those devotees who experience spiritual satisfaction and divine bliss through constant devotional service; gradually their specific devotional attitude increases to the point where they can relish pure love of God.

In the stage of bhāva, or spontaneous devotional service in ecstasy, there is a direct transcendental exchange of mellows between Lord Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotee. The Supreme Lord Himself gives His devotee buddhi-yoga, or spiritual intelligence, and the devotee, acting with that intelligence, serves the Lord until he gradually approaches the Lord's supreme abode. Such a devotee can never be affected by ignorance.

The impersonalists and empiric philosophers consider the unalloyed devotees of the Lord sentimental fools, and thus they deride them. This is a big offense. Such offences cause the impersonalists and pseudo-devotees to slowly become demoniac. Having lost good sense and a stable mind, they gradually develop animosity toward the Supreme Lord and find all their life's endeavors reduced to suffering and futility. If one of these deluded demoniac impersonalists comes in contact with a pure devotee and by his mercy regains his lost insight, then he can begin to understand that the pure devotees he offended are exchanging spiritual mellows with Lord Kṛṣṇa and are thus forever free from ignorance and illusion. The impersonalists must understand that the Supreme Lord, acting from within as the Supersoul, removes all ignorance from the devotee's heart. As Lord Kṛṣṇa states in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.11):

teṣām evānukampārtham
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

The dry speculative philosophers may kindly note one point: By using the word teṣām, Lord Kṛṣṇa openly declares that He is always merciful to His surrendered devotees. The reason that the Lord expands Himself as the Supersoul and enters everyone's heart is not to bless the empiric philosophers and yogīs but to bless the devotees from within. If the Supreme Lord Himself wishes to enlighten the devotees with spiritual knowledge and gradually draw them closer to Him, then what question is there of such devotees ever coming under the spell of nescience? Rather, it is out of nescience only that the empiric philosophers try to approach the Supreme Truth on the strength of their own intellect. We know that the Supreme Lord can dissipate the darkness of ignorance with the spiritual effulgence emanating from His body. Can the empiricists do the same? One can never lift the gloom of nescience by one's own efforts. Empiricists such as the atheist Kapila, unable to reach enlightenment by their own efforts, feel great relief in trying to explain away the Absolute Truth as unknowable and unmanifest. But great suffering befalls these dry speculators attached to the theory of the unmanifest Absolute, as Lord Kṛṣṇa confirms in the Bhagavad-gītā (12.5):

kleśo 'dhikataras teṣām
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ
dehavadbhir avāpyate

For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.

The austerities a monist performs are painful both during the initial stage of practice (sādhana) and when he has supposedly reached perfection. The impersonalists suffer excruciating pains trying to establish the oneness of matter and spirit through speculative theories. Thinking that Brahman is impotent, through sophistry they try to equate the Lord's inferior, material energy with His superior, spiritual energy, thus reaping ridicule from truly learned circles. In attempting to prove that the Absolute Truth cannot be the Supreme Personality of Godhead with unlimited energies, they argue that this would mean immutable Brahman is actually mutable. Thus their logic loses all cohesion and they become a laughingstock. In trying to refute the established theory of pariṇāma-vāda, or the "transformation of energy," they accuse Śrīla Vyāsadeva of being mistaken when he says that the material universe and the living entities are all transformations of the Lord's energy and are therefore real, not false. Thus in their philosophical discussions the monists reject the main purport and essence of all Vedic scriptures and their corollaries and hang on to nonessential injunctions, such as tat tvam asi, "You are that." They like to deliberate on these subpoints, but when confronted with the arguments of a learned Vaiṣṇava, they turn and run from the battlefront.

Without understanding that the Supreme Lord is a transcendental personality, the monists make futile and grossly mundane attempts at restraining their senses, meditating on the Lord's impersonal aspect as the ultimate and original Absolute Truth. As it is impossible to dam a flooding river, so it is impossible to control the senses by meditating on the impersonal Brahman. As the great sage Sanat Kumāra says in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.22.39):

karmāśayaṁ grathitam udgrathayanti santaḥ
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo 'pi ruddha-
sroto-gaṇās tam araṇaṁ bhaja vāsudevam

The devotees, who are always engaged in the service of the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, can easily overcome hard-knotted desires for fruitive activities. Because this is very difficult, the nondevotees—the jñānīs and yogīs—although trying to stop the waves of sense gratification, cannot do so. Therefore you are advised to engage in the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva.

Lord Viṣṇu's impersonal aspect is known as Brahman. So when the jīva soul, a product of Lord Viṣṇu's superior, spiritual energy, attains sāyujya-mukti, or liberation by merging with Brahman, it is not at all surprising. The energetic principle always enjoys the prerogative of enfolding within itself His own energy, but that does not destroy the energy's eternal individuality. The impersonalists, desiring to merge with Brahman and knowing that it is feasible, still experience intense suffering in their effort to reach brahmānanda, "the bliss of Brahman." The Lord's devotees consider the pleasures of such liberation worse than hell. The impersonalists, in trying to destroy the illusion inherent in material forms, do away with even the eternal spiritual forms. That is indeed very foolish. Treating a patient to cure his disease is one thing, but ending the patient along with the disease is the work of an idiot. Thus we have this instruction from the great authority Brahmā in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.4):

śreya-sṛtiṁ bhaktim udasya te vibho
kliśyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye
teṣām asau kleśala eva śiṣyate
nānyad yathā sthūla-tuṣāvaghātinām

My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the best path for self-realization. If one gives up that path and engages in the cultivation of speculative knowledge, he will simply undergo a troublesome process and will not achieve his desired result. As a person who beats an empty husk of wheat cannot get grain, one who simply speculates cannot achieve self-realization. His only gain is trouble.

Instead of becoming an impersonalist and inviting misfortune and misery, the devotee surrenders to Lord Kṛṣṇa and never suffers in this world. When he leaves his present body, he transcends the material platform and becomes eligible to participate in the Lord's eternal pastimes. As the Supersoul, Lord Kṛṣṇa enlightens the devotee from within the heart and disperses the gloom of ignorance. The Lord gives the devotee the spiritual intelligence to attain Him. The ocean of nescience is very difficult to cross, but when the devotee attempts to cross it, the Lord Himself intervenes to help. Alone the devotee would surely drown, but with the Lord's help he easily crosses over. Thus taking shelter of the Lord is the surest way to surmount the ocean of material existence. As Lord Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā (12.6-7)

ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi
mayi sannyasya mat-parāḥ
ananyenaiva yogena
māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha
mayy āveśita-cetasām

But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pṛthā—for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

Those who surrender to Lord Kṛṣṇa, who repose their unflinching faith in the personal form of the Supreme Lord, offer him their mental and physical activities, along with everything else. With unalloyed, single-minded devotion unencumbered by desires for empirical knowledge, fruitive activity, or severe austerities, they worship and meditate on the eternal, beautiful, two-handed form of Lord Kṛṣṇa playing a flute. Such pure devotees, their hearts saturated with love for Kṛṣṇa, quickly and easily transcend the cycle of material existence, for Lord Kṛṣṇa personally helps them. The merciful Lord promises to reciprocate with each one according to his degree of devotion.

The impersonalists are obsessed with the idea that the Supreme Being is impersonal and that the final goal is to merge into that Brahman existence. Naturally the Lord does not object. If a patient wants to end his disease by ending his life, then who will suffer but him? The more intelligent person will surely want to cure his disease without ending his life, and to that end he will strive to regain his original health. Similarly, the soul infected with the material disease should want to return to his pure, original state without annihilating his individual identity. Lord Kṛṣṇa saves such persons from the jaws of the demoniac conception of trying to become one with God. It is suicidal for the spirit soul to attempt to lose his inherent individuality. The happiness the impersonalist experiences by disentangling himself from the knots of material existence is automatically available to the Lord's devotee as a by-product of devotional service. As the Nāradīya Purāṇa says,

One should not engage in fruitive activity or cultivate knowledge by mental speculation. One who is devoted to the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa, can attain all the benefits derived from other processes, such as yoga, mental speculation, rituals, sacrifices, and charity. That is the specific benediction of devotional service.

And in the Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (107), Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura states:

bhaktis tvayi sthiratarā bhagavān yadi syād
daivena naḥ phalati divya-kiśora-mūrtiḥ
muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate 'sṁān
dharmārtha-kāma-gatayaḥ samaya-pratikṣāḥ

O Lord! If our devotion to You is undeviating, then Your ever-youthful form will spontaneously manifest within our heart. At that time liberation personified will serve us like a maidservant, and religiosity, economic development, and sense gratification [the other three goals of the Vedas] will humbly await our bidding.

yā vai sādhana-sam pattiḥ
tayā vinā tad āpnoti
naro nārāyaṇāśrayaḥ

Even without the usual requirements for achieving the perfection of life, a person will gain that perfection if he is simply a surrendered devotee of Nārāyaṇa. (Nāradiya Purāṇa)