Srimad Bhagavatam–Lecture Two

January 23, 2023

(These explanations of Srimad Bhagavatam were published in the weekly Gaudiya magazine during Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura´s time. Later on, they were published in the monthly Gaudiya magazine in 1964-65.)

yat kincit trna gulma kikata mukham hy tat

sarvananda mayam mukunda daitam lilanukulam param

sastraireva muhurmuhuh prakatitam nistankitam yanya

brahmaderapi samsprhena tadidam sarvam maya vandyate

“Because the grass in the pasturing grounds as well as the trees and creepers of Vrndavana are all favorable for Mukunda’s pastimes, they are very dear to Him and are always full of bliss. This has been repeatedly declared by all the scriptures. Personalities like Brahma constantly desire to remain as a clump of grass or creeper in Vrndavana. I offer my obeisances to all of them.”

Let all things that are favorable for the service of Krsna become the objects of our worship. Let the abomination of mundane conceptions with regard to grass and creepers not affect us. It is not possible for us to become liberated, by our own endeavor, from our present material conceptions, material endeavors and false ego. Lord Krsna has said in the Bhagavad-gita, daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya, that this material nature, which consists of three material modes, is very difficult to overcome. The Supreme Lord and the material energy, or maya are two separate objects. The Supreme Lord is the Absolute Truth whereas maya is temporary by nature. The temporary material conception of this world created by maya induces the conditioned souls to engage in fruitive activities.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.19.18) it is stated as follows:

karmanam parinamitvad

avirincyad amangalam

vipascin nasvaram pasyed

adrstam api drsta-vat

“An intelligent person should see that any material activity is subject to constant transformation and that even on the planet of Lord Brahma there is thus simply unhappiness. Indeed, a wise man can understand that just as all that he has seen is temporary, similarly, all things within the universe have a beginning and an end.”

In the material world, we acquire knowledge through our senses—the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and touch, as well as the mind. We try to analyze that accumulated knowledge with the help of pratyaksa (direct perception) and anumana (imagination). Actually, these attempts are the causes of our misfortune. Cultivation of Vedic knowledge while maintaining the sense of being the doer falls under the category of material knowledge.

It is stated in the Vedas, dve vidye veditavye para para ceti. Any knowledge other than spiritual knowledge is mundane knowledge. It is very difficult to gain freedom from the inauspiciousness caused by mundane knowledge. There is every possibility of inauspiciousness even in the topmost planet of this material world, known as Brahma-loka.

Learned persons know that this material world is temporary. All the endeavors of human beings within the fourteen worlds are being baffled at every moment. The conditioned souls are always put into illusion. By considering the phrase, tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo—by the Supreme Lord even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water—one can understand that by seeing things in an apparent way, one often fails to see the actual truth.

Unless one is favored by the Supreme Lord, one cannot see things in their true perspective. We should always consider that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is worshipable and that His abode, Vrndavana, is similarly worshipable. The abode of Vrndavana is the place of Sri Krsna’s pastimes. Krsna is the personification of all transcendental mellows. If, out of good fortune, we realize this fact then we are sure to achieve the highest benefit. In the abode of Vrndavana, there is only one object of worship and that is Krsna. He is served by five kinds of servants who are all subordinate to Him.

The living entities who are averse to the service of the Lord try to become the objects of service in this material world and so they become entangled in the wheel of fruitive activities. Such activities are most insignificant. When we try to become the enjoyer and engage our senses in seeking limited pleasure, we become contaminated and thus invite our own ruination. We have no alternative than to take shelter of those whose grace can certainly award us all auspiciousness.

The five types of devotees who serve Krsna in five different relationships always remain engaged in the service of Lord, who is the personification of all the rasas, with newer and newer feelings of loving exchanges. No one other than these five kinds of devotees can understand the intricacies of His service. What to speak of others, even Sri Baladeva, who is the personal manifestation of Krsna, who is the fountainhead of the quadruple forms, the incarnations, the Supersoul, the three Purusa-avataras, and the vaibhava-avataras such as Matsya, is constantly engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. May that original Absolute Truth, Lord Krsna, from whom all incarnations emanate, become the only object of our worship.

Among the five kinds of servants of the Supreme Lord, the service rendered by the damsels of Braja is accepted as the topmost. No one can serve Krsna and please Him like the gopi´s.

This is confirmed by Uddhava in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.61) as follows:

asam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam

vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam

ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva

bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam

“The gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vrndavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.”

The gopis of Braja were ready to give up their relatives to serve their beloved Lord Mukunda, who is searched after by the personified Vedas and who is the object of the liberated souls’ worship. We are not even ready to give up the association of our relatives and so how can we go to Braja? Svajana, or relatives, refers to those who have temporarily become related to us. The gopis even rejected their kinsmen. They even abandoned the path of chastity (a path adopted in all civilized societies) for the sake of attaining the lotus feet of Mukunda.

By remaining as one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Braja, one receives the opportunity to attain the dust from the lotus feet of the gopis. The grass and creepers of Vrndavana are transcendental—they are not products of matter. One should not view them with a material conception. Although there is a similarity between the objects of this visible world and those of the transcendental abode of Vrndavana, they are far different in quality. If one tries to see the transcendental objects of Vrndavana through mundane vision, he will end up becoming a prakrita sahajiya (one who takes things very cheaply)- One will remain far away from actually understanding the spiritual nature.

If one considers the matter from a neutral point of view, he will conclude that the way in which the gopis of Braja served Krsna is supreme. What is the proof of this? The spotless Purana, Srimad-Bhagavatam, is the proof of this. There are innumerable evidences recorded in the Vedas and literatures in pursuance of the Vedas that support this conclusion. However, because the outlook of those who cultivate mundane knowledge is contaminated, such persons do not accept this evidence. It is something like a person who is unsuccessfully trying to get water in the desert. Actually, there is no water in the desert—it is only a mirage.

One should aspire for the actual goal of life. Everything else is unwanted and temporary. Such things create illusion in the minds of the condition souls. According to the opinion of many, the philosophy of impersonalism is topmost, but this is not a fact. This concept is full of contamination-it is impure. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless evidence. In this literature, there is no opportunity for cheating religion like personal sense enjoyment or liberation. There is no network of selfishness in its teachings. Because people who try to explain the Vedas, Samhitas, and Upanisads on the strength of their academic qualifications are initiated into the path of selfishness, their evidence and reasoning are full of cheating, and thus totally unacceptable.