Brief Summary of SB 3.27 – Understanding Material Nature

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:

  1. Equality to all jivas
  2. No enmity
  3. No intimate connection
  4. Celibacy
  5. Being grave
  6. Offering results of one’s activities to the Lord
  7. Satisfaction with what comes of its own accord
  8. Regulated eating
  9. Thoughtful
  10. Living in a secluded place
  11. Peaceful
  12. Friendly
  13. Compassionate
  14. Self-possessed/Determined
  15. No bodily identification or attraction for bodily relationships
  16. Transcends the 3 stages of material consciousness and seeing the reality, by realized knowledge of spirit and matter
  17. Being aloof from all other conceptions of life
  18. Self-realized

Next Lord Kapiladeva explains the characteristics of the soul. A liberated soul realizes the Supersoul to be:

  1. Manifest as a reflection even in the false ego
  2. The cause of prakrti
  3. The revealer of the material elements
  4. Pervading into everything
  5. One without a second

Through analogies, one can infer the presence of the soul and the Supersoul.

  1. Sun in sky -> Sun reflected on water -> Reflection of water on the wall -> Infer the presence of sun
  2. Pure Jiva -> Influenced by 3-fold ahankara -> Reflected in body, senses and mind -> Infer the presence of Jiva
  3. 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:

  1. Intense bhakti for a long time
  2. Without desires for fruitive results
  3. By executing prescribed duties
  4. Nourishment by hearing about the Lord
  5. Perfect knowledge and detachment
  6. 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 –

  1. Knows the Absolute truth or the elements
  2. Has fixed his mind on Krsna
  3. 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.

Realization:

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!

Brief Summary of SB 3.25 (The Glories of Devotional Service)

Hare Krsna,

As the title of the chapter indicates, this chapter explains the glories of devotional service. This chapter is mainly the conversation between Lord Kapiladev and His mother, Devahuti.

In the beginning, Devahuti, remembering the words of Lord Brahma, begins to question Lord Kapila after taking His shelter to destroy material existence. She explains her distressful nature due to being tired with material disturbance. She asks four questions:

  1. Please dispel the illusion of “aham mameti.”
  2. Explain about jiva and prakrti.
  3. What kind of bhakti will help to easily attain You?
  4. Explain jnana, yoga and its limbs.

Hearing His mother’s uncontaminated desire for increasing the liberation of the humanity, Lord Kapila thanks her mentally and explains the path of devotees. He offers Adhyatmika yoga as solution as it causes detachment from material happiness and distress.

What is Adhyatmika yoga? It consists of three aspects:

  • Bhakti yoga
  • Jnana (or Sankhya) yoga
  • Astanga-yoga (or yoga)

In all these three, the mind is the pivot because if the mind is attached to material modes, it causes bondage and if it is attached to the Supreme Lord, it causes liberation.Lord Kapila then describes the symptoms of a liberated mind. A liberated mind is:

  • Free from lust and greed produced from false ego.
  • Once cleansed of lust and greed, it transcends material happiness and distress.
  • With a liberation mind, one can see the soul as transcendental and self-effulgent.

Next question is, how can one bring the mind to this stage? The answer is this happens by bhakti endowed with jnana and vairagya (knowledge and detachment).

Glory of bhakti

Lord Kapila next describes the glory of bhakti. He explains that perfection in self-realization cannot be attained by any other kind of yoga. Bhakti is the only auspicious path. This bhakti is obtained by association of sadhus. Materialistic association is the greatest entanglement, but association of sadhus opens the door of liberation. Not just any sadhu, but sadhus with certain characteristics and activities.

Characteristics and Activities of a sadhu:

A sadhu exhibits primary and secondary characteristics. His secondary characteristics are that he is tolerant, merciful, friendly to all beings, free from enemies, peaceful and abides by the scriptures. However, his primary characteristics are he engages in staunch devotional service to the Lord without deviation and renounces all material connections to attain the Lord. His main activities are hearing, chanting and remembering the Lord. Thus, he does not suffer from material distress.

Benefits of association with advanced sadhus:

Therefore, Lord Kapila advises His mother Devahuti to associate with such sadhus to obtain Krsna prema. This association will destroy the evil effects of material attachment. It is mentioned that association of sadhus is the first step to bhakti. Such association arouses faith (sraddha) in oneself. Then one begins to associate with sadhus (Sadhu-sanga). Krsna-katha in the association of sadhus is so pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart that it gives ruci (taste), asakti (attachment to Krsna), bhava (ecstatic emotions), and prema (love of God).

One should be careful about wrong association. From inferior association of sadhus, there is only bhajana-kriya, and krsna-katha does not become nectar by that. In excellent association, krsna-katha causes anartha nivrtti and then becomes direct realization of Lord’s great qualities and produced nistha. Then it becomes an elixir for the heart and ears at the stage of ruci. From that asakti, bhava and prema follow in order.

Lord Kapila especially highlights that practice of jnana and yoga is not complete without bhakti. But being disgusted with sense gratification, thinking about the Lord’s activities and endeavoring to control mind through yoga, one will come on the correct path of yoga. One should not engage in the service of material modes, but develop bhakti, knowledge in renunciation and practice yoga. Thus, one will be able to achieve the Lord in this very lifetime.

Mother Devahuti then asks further clarifying questions – questions that resonats with my thoughts too. She asks:

  1. What kind of bhakti should she perform to easily attain the Lord’s feet?
  2. What is jnana by which she can understand the tattvas?
  3. What is the yoga aimed at the Lord for liberation? How many limbs does it have?

She admits that her intelligence is not very great to understand the Absolute Truth, but she can understand it easily by His mercy.

[Note: It is wonderful that she could display the mind and level of intelligence of the people in Kali-yuga. She asks these questions on behalf of us.)

Lord Kapila starts answering her questions.

Q: What kind of bhakti is suitable for easily attaining the Lord’s feet?

The bhakti suitable for the Lord is the bhakti beyond the guna. That is, bhakti without material desires – vaidhi and bhava – is superior to liberation. Bhakti performed without material desires consists of:

  • Senses that service the Supreme Lord as confirmed by the scriptures and guru,
  • Mind that is exclusively dedicated to the Lord on a spontaneous level (bhava)

Such bhakti quickly destroys subtle body as digestive fire consumes food.

Characteristics of a devotee in bhava attained by vaidhi-bhakti and raganuga-bhakti

  1. Never desires impersonal liberation
  2. Always engages in the service of the Lord’s lotus feet
  3. Glorifies His activities in association of devotees
  4. Sees His attractive smiling face with red eyes
  5. Sees His various benevolent transcendental forms
  6. Talks favorably with Him
  7. Bhakti gives liberation without separate endeavor, although not desiring it
  8. Doesn’t desire higher planets, asta-siddhis or even the kingdom of God, but they attain all benedictions even in this life; the Lord awards them His own abode.
  9. They are not deprived of any opulence or affected by time, because they accept the Lord as their lover, son, friend, etc. in the spiritual world.

For those devotees who are not qualified for bhava-bhakti, which is spontaneous, vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti (which is non-spontaneous) is recommended.

By performing vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti, the devotee gives up all attachments of this world and the next; he exclusively worships the Lord. Thus, the Lord takes him beyond birth and death. Fear of material world can only be overcome by devotion.

But what if the devatas become angry if one just worships the Lord?

The Lord assures that all devatas work out of fear of Him. Out of His fear, the wind blows, the sun shines, Indra pours rain, fire burns and the death flees all. Therefore, the yogis take shelter of His lotus feet, by bhakti mixed with jnana and vairagya, for highest perfection i.e. going back to Godhead. The greatest benefit can be achieved only by offering one’s mind in intense bhakti to Him (tivra-bhakti).

The best course is to fix the mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. Mano mayy arpitaṁ sthiram. If one seriously engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the highest perfectional stage. All Kṛṣṇa conscious activities are on the highest perfectional level of human life.” (SB 3.25.44 P)

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Source: Some notes have been taken from Bhagavata Subodhini

 

Prayer to Supreme Lord

Oh Lord, from Your Mouth manifests Fire (Agni)

Who entered into it to give us the voice to express ourselves in words

Oh Lord, from Your Palate manifests Varuna

Who entered into it to give us the tongue to taste everything

 

Oh Lord, from Your nostrils manifest Asvini-Kumaras

Who entered into it to give us the nose to smell the aroma of everything

 

Oh Lord, from Your two lotus Eyes manifest Surya (Sun)

Who entered into it to give us the eye sight to see various forms

 

Oh Lord, from Your gross skin manifests Anila (the wind God)

Who entered into it to give us the skin to realize tactile knowledge (touch)

 

Oh Lord, from Your ears manifests Dik-devatas

Who entered into it to give us the hearing principle to hear different sounds

 

Oh Lord, from Your skin manifests the trees personified

Who entered into it to give us the hairs on skin to itch and feel happiness due to touch

 

Oh Lord, from Your genitals manifests Prajapati

Who entered into them with his partial semen to help us enjoy sex pleasure

 

Oh Lord, from Your evacuating channel and anus manifests Mitra

Who entered into with his partial organs of evacuation to help us pass stool and urine

 

Oh Lord, from Your hands manifests Indra

Who entered into them to give us the hands to transact business for livelihood

 

Oh Lord, from Your legs manifest Visnu (not the Personality of Godhead)

Who entered into them to give us the feet to move to our destination

 

Oh Lord, from Your intelligence manifests Brahma – the Lord of the Vedas

Who entered into them to give us the power of understanding to experience an object

 

Oh Lord, from Your heart manifests the Moon (Candra)

Who entered into it to give us the mental activity to engage in mental speculation

 

Oh Lord, from Your material ego manifests Rudra

Who entered into it to give us the partial activity for transacting objective actions

 

Oh Lord, from Your consciousness manifests total energy (Mahat-tattva)

Who entered into it to give us the conscious part to conceive specific knowledge

 

Oh Lord, from You manifests all the planets and living entities

Oh Lord, from Your head manifest the heavenly planets where the demigod are situated on the mode of goodness

Oh Lord, from Your legs manifest the earthly planets where the human beings are situated on the mode of passion

Oh Lord, from Your Abdomen manifests the Sky where the associates of Rudra are situated on the mode of ignorance

 

Oh Lord, from You also manifests the Varnas

Oh Lord, from Your mouth manifests the Vedic wisdom and brahmanas who are the natural teachers and spiritual masters

Oh Lord, from Your arms manifests the power of protection and ksatriyas who protect the society from the disturbance of thieves and miscreants

Oh Lord, from Your thighs manifests the means of livelihood of all persons and vaisyas who produce grains and distribute them to the prajas

Oh Lord, from Your legs manifests the service for the sake of perfecting dharma and sudras who satisfy You by service

 

I, therefore, worship You under the direction of my guru.

 

Oh Lord, who can estimate the transcendental time, work, and potency of the gigantic form manifested by Your internal potency

Oh Lord, who can glorify You enough with his limited inability – even Maitreya felt unable to glorify You with whatever he has been able to hear from his guru

Oh Lord, glorifying You is the highest perfectional gain of human speech

Your activities are nicely put in writing by the learned and the purpose of ear is served by being near them

 

Oh Lord, even Brahma, after thousand years of matured meditation, could only know that Your glories are inconceiveable

Oh Lord, Your wonderful potency bewilders even the jugglers

Even You self-sufficient Lord cannot know it, then what to speak of others?

 

Oh Lord, words, mind, ego and their respective demigods could not know You.

 

Therefore, we simply have to offer respective obeisances unto You

 

All glories to You!

All glories to You!

All glories to You!

 

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This prayer is based on SB 3.6.11-40

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