The main gist of the chapter is the re-confirmation of BG 7.14:
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is very difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily overcome it.”
In this chapter, Lord Kapiladeva discusses about the method of bhakti-misra-jnana and the method for attaining liberation.
First, Lord Kaplideva talks about the jiva in conditioned state. In actuality, the jiva, although situated in prakrti, is unaffected by its qualities because he is unchanging and not the proprietor. In essence, the jiva is pure just as the sun remains aloof from its reflection on water. But then the jiva gets absorbed in the material modes and gets bewildered by the false ego, he falsely thinks he is the proprietor of everything. Therefore he undergoes repeated birth and death. His troublesome material condition does not cease because he considers himself the doer and because of his constant meditation on the sense objects. The solution, therefore, is to gradually control the materially attached mind through bhakti yoga with detachment. Controlling the mind is the objective of all other yoga processes as well.
One can attain liberation through the process of jnana as well. The process entails: a) faithfully practising astanga-yoga, b) with devotion and faith, and c) hearing the Lord’s topics.
Lord Kapiladeva explains the 18 qualities to be cultivated by the jnana. They are:
- Equality to all jivas
- No enmity
- No intimate connection
- Being grave
- Offering results of one’s activities to the Lord
- Satisfaction with what comes of its own accord
- Regulated eating
- Living in a secluded place
- No bodily identification or attraction for bodily relationships
- Transcends the 3 stages of material consciousness and seeing the reality, by realized knowledge of spirit and matter
- Being aloof from all other conceptions of life
Next Lord Kapiladeva explains the characteristics of the soul. A liberated soul realizes the Supersoul to be:
- Manifest as a reflection even in the false ego
- The cause of prakrti
- The revealer of the material elements
- Pervading into everything
- One without a second
Through analogies, one can infer the presence of the soul and the Supersoul.
- Sun in sky -> Sun reflected on water -> Reflection of water on the wall -> Infer the presence of sun
- Pure Jiva -> Influenced by 3-fold ahankara -> Reflected in body, senses and mind -> Infer the presence of Jiva
- Supreme Lord -> Lord reflected in everything by His energies (understanding of the pure devotee) -> Infer presence of the Lord
What are the symptoms of the soul without material coverings?
The soul is pure, alert and free from the false ego, yet he appears to be covered by the false ego and its products (senses, mind, etc.) Due to this misidentification with false ego, he feels lost and distressed. But when he realizes that he is pure individual soul by mature understanding, then the situation he accepts under false ego becomes manifest to him.
Devahuti asks questions pertaining to the rarity of liberation. She asks that since prakrti and jiva are attracted to each other eternally, how is their separation possible? In such as case, how is liberation possible when the prakrti acts on him and binds him? Even if the great fear of bondage is sometimes avoided by Sankhya, it may still reappear since its cause has not ceased.
Lord Kapiladeva provides the solutions. He recommends intense practice to attain liberation. The process includes:
- Intense bhakti for a long time
- Without desires for fruitive results
- By executing prescribed duties
- Nourishment by hearing about the Lord
- Perfect knowledge and detachment
- Austerity, yoga and self-absorption
By such practice seriously, the influence of prakrti over jiva can be removed, just as wooden sticks that cause a fire are themselves consumed by it.
Regarding Devahuti’s question on fear, Lord Kapiladeva assures that when the jiva discovers the faultiness of his desiring to lord it over material nature and therefore gives it up, he becomes independent and stands in his own glory. This is akin to a person waking up from a dream. Material nature cannot harm him because he –
- Knows the Absolute truth or the elements
- Has fixed his mind on Krsna
- Rejoices in the self
Such a yogi engages in self-realization for many lifetimes with complete detachment from everything. But ultimately the mercy of the Supreme Lord is most important. By the mercy of the Supreme Lord, the devotee becomes self-realized and attains His transcendental abode under His shelter and never comes back. When the devotee’s heart is no longer attracted to the by-products of yoga, he can attain final liberation, where death cannot overcome him.
My realization is that we should try to become pure devotees and should pray to the Lord that we can be engaged in pure devotional service unto Him. Having that desire is very important. By constantly chanting the Holy Name without offenses and praying intensely to Krsna for pure devotional service, we can attain ultimate goal by His mercy one day. A pure devotee is he/she who does not engage himself/herself in the service of the Lord for any material benefit or for understanding of the Supreme Lord. His one interest is that he loves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he spontaneously engages in satisfying Him.
“If while performing any activity, even in material existence, one’s mind is fixed upon the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, one will not be entangled or conditioned. The worker in devotional service, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is always independent of the influence of material nature.” (SB 3.27.26 P)
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!