In this verse the words dayā jīveṣu, meaning "mercy to other living entities," indicate that a living entity must be merciful to other living entities if he wishes to make progress in self-realization. This means he must preach this knowledge after perfecting himself and understanding his own position as an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. Preaching this is showing real mercy to living entities. Other types of humanitarian work may be temporarily beneficial for the body, but because a living entity is spirit soul, ultimately one can show him real mercy only by revealing knowledge of his spiritual existence. As Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, jīvera 'svarūpa' haya-kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa': (CC Madhya 20.108) "Every living entity is constitutionally a servant of Kṛṣṇa." One should know this fact perfectly and should preach it to the mass of people.
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- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Correspondence
SB Canto 2
The Lord has unlimited numbers of transcendental qualities, and one of them is His affection for His unalloyed devotee. In the history of the mundane world we can appreciate His transcendental qualities. The Lord incarnates Himself for the protection of His devotees and for the annihilation of the faithless. His activities are in relationship with His devotees. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is full of such activities of the Lord in relationship with His devotees, and the nondevotees have no knowledge of such pastimes. The Lord lifted the Govardhana Hill when He was only seven years old and protected His pure devotees at Vṛndāvana from the wrath of Indra, who was overflooding the place with rain. Now this lifting of the Govardhana Hill by a seven-year-old boy may be unbelievable for the faithless, but for the devotees it is absolutely believable. The devotee believes in the almighty potency of the Lord, while the faithless say that the Lord is almighty but do not believe it. Such men with a poor fund of knowledge do not know that the Lord is the Lord eternally and that one cannot become the Lord by meditation for millions of years or by mental speculation for billions of years.
The impersonal interpretation of the mundane wranglers is completely refuted in this verse because it is clearly stated here that the Supreme Lord has His qualities, form, pastimes and everything that a person has. All these descriptions of the transcendental nature of the Personality of Godhead are factual realizations by the devotee of the Lord, and by the causeless mercy of the Lord they are revealed to His pure devotee, and to no one else.
SB Canto 3
As a fire can consume anything and everything without being contaminated, so, by the grace of the Lord, the fire of Brahmā's greatness consumed his desire for the sinful act of sex with his daughter. The Vedas are the source of all knowledge, and they were first revealed to Brahmā by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead while Brahmā was thinking of re-creating the material world. Brahmā is powerful by dint of his devotional service unto the Lord, and the Lord is always ready to forgive His devotee if by chance he falls down from the noble path of devotional service.
Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is not very easily understood by ordinary, less intelligent men; but if the spiritual master is kind enough to the disciple, however unintelligent the disciple may be, then by the divine grace of the spiritual master everything is revealed. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura therefore says, yasya prasādād, by the mercy of the spiritual master, the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, bhagavat-prasādaḥ, is revealed. Devahūti requested her great son to be merciful towards her because she was a less intelligent woman and also His mother. By the grace of Kapiladeva it was quite possible for her to understand the Absolute Truth, even though the subject matter is very difficult for ordinary persons, especially women.
Actual self-realization means becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. The existence of a devotee implies the function of devotion and the object of devotion. Self-realization ultimately means to understand the Personality of Godhead and the living entities; to know the individual self and the reciprocal exchanges of loving service between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity is real self-realization. This cannot be attained by the impersonalists or other transcendentalists; they cannot understand the science of devotional service. Devotional service is revealed to the pure devotee by the unlimited causeless mercy of the Lord. This is especially spoken of here by the Lord—mat-prasādena, "by My special grace." This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā. Only those who engage in devotional service with love and faith receive the necessary intelligence from the Supreme Personality of Godhead so that gradually and progressively they can advance to the abode of the Personality of Godhead.
SB Canto 4
The material scientist can simply study the partial understanding of the varieties of energies; he can take up one of the energies and try to understand it with limited knowledge, but still it is not possible to understand the Absolute Truth in full by dint of material science. No material scientist can foretell what is going to happen in the future. The bhakti-yoga process, however, is completely different from so-called scientific advancement of knowledge. A devotee completely surrenders unto the Supreme, who reveals Himself by His causeless mercy. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ tam. The Lord says, "I give him intelligence." What is that intelligence? Yena mām upayānti te. The Lord gives one the intelligence to cross over the ocean of nescience and come back home, back to Godhead. In conclusion, the cause of all causes, the Absolute Truth, or Supreme Brahman, cannot be understood by philosophical speculation, but He reveals Himself to His devotee because the devotee fully surrenders unto His lotus feet.
The Vedas state, ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ: (CC Madhya 17.136) the transcendental names, forms, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of the Lord cannot be understood by our blunt material senses. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ: when a devotee engages his senses favorably in devotional service, the Lord, through His causeless mercy, reveals Himself to the devotee. This is the conclusive Vedic process. The Vedas also indicate that simply by chanting the holy names of the Lord one can without a doubt become spiritually advanced. We cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the speed of mind or words, but if we stick to devotional service we can easily and quickly approach Him. In other words, the Supreme Lord is attracted by devotional service, and He can approach us more swiftly than we can approach Him with our mental speculation.
SB Canto 5
My dear King Rahūgaṇa, unless one has the opportunity to smear his entire body with the dust of the lotus feet of great devotees, one cannot realize the Absolute Truth. One cannot realize the Absolute Truth simply by observing celibacy (brahmacarya), strictly following the rules and regulations of householder life, leaving home as a vānaprastha, accepting sannyāsa, or undergoing severe penances in winter by keeping oneself submerged in water or surrounding oneself in summer by fire and the scorching heat of the sun. There are many other processes to understand the Absolute Truth, but the Absolute Truth is only revealed to one who has attained the mercy of a great devotee.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
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.
The transcendental personal forms of the Lord are a mystery, and the symptoms of these forms, which are absolutely different from anything made of mundane elements, are also mysterious. The innumerable forms of the Lord, such as Śyāmasundara, Nārāyaṇa, Rāma and Gaurasundara; the colors of these forms (white, red, yellow, cloudlike śyāma and others); His qualities, as the responsive Personality of Godhead to pure devotees and as impersonal Brahman to dry speculators; His uncommon activities like lifting Govardhana Hill, marrying more than sixteen thousand queens at Dvārakā, and entering the rāsa dance with the damsels of Vraja, expanding Himself in as many forms as there were damsels in the dance—these and innumerable other uncommon acts and attributes are all mysteries, one aspect of which is presented in the scientific knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā, which is read and adored all over the world by all classes of scholars, with as many interpretations as there are empiric philosophers. The truth of these mysteries was revealed to Brahmā by the descending process, without the help of the ascending one. The Lord's mercy descends to a devotee like Brahmā and, through Brahmā, to Nārada, from Nārada to Vyāsa, from Vyāsadeva to Śukadeva and so on in the bona fide chain of disciplic succession. We cannot discover the mysteries of the Lord by our mundane endeavors; they are only revealed, by His grace, to the proper devotees. These mysteries are gradually disclosed to the various grades of devotees in proportion to the gradual development of their service attitude.
By the mercy of the Lord, all truths were revealed to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, and he could understand the importance of chanting the holy name and distributing love of Godhead everywhere.
So-called followers of Vedic principles simply accept the Vedas formally, but they act against Vedic principles. This is symptomatic of this Age of Kali. People claim to follow a certain type of religion, saying formally, "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian," "I am this or that," but actually no one follows the principles enunciated in religious scriptures. This is the disease of this age. Therefore the merciful Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has simply advised us to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra: harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam (CC Adi 17.21). The Lord can deliver anyone and everyone, even though one may have fallen from the injunctions of revealed scriptures. This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's special mercy. Consequently He is known as patita-pāvana, the deliverer of all fallen souls.
“What kind of means you will have to use at that time will be revealed by Kṛṣṇa. If one has Kṛṣṇa's mercy, no one can check him.”
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu admitted that He was speaking like a madman, which He should not have done for the understanding of those who are externally situated. Statements about Kṛṣṇa's body, His characteristics and His flute would appear like a madman's statements to a mundane person. It was actually a fact that Kṛṣṇa wanted to reveal Himself to Sanātana Gosvāmī due to His specific mercy upon him. Somehow or other, Kṛṣṇa explained Himself and His flute to Sanātana Gosvāmī through the mouth of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who appeared as though mad. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu admitted that He wanted to tell Sanātana Gosvāmī something else, but somehow or other, in transcendental ecstasy, He spoke of a different subject matter.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Renunciation Through Wisdom
The materialistic, fruitive workers make the mistake of thinking that this supreme transcendental personality is mundane, and thus they become degraded into pseudodevotees. And the dry speculators, having been repulsed by the material phenomena in their search for knowledge of the Absolute, think that the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also repulsive, thus clearly proving that their ascending process of acquiring knowledge is insufficient and inferior. Both these groups are in a pathetic spiritual state. Therefore, to shower His causeless mercy upon them, the Supreme Lord has revealed the truth about Himself and His transcendental potencies in the Bhagavad-gītā.
To perfectly comprehend the absolute pastimes of the absolute Supreme Godhead is impossible through any of the "isms," such as empiricism, impersonalism, or sophism. Only by the Lord's mercy can one fathom the Supreme Godhead. That same Supreme Personality benignly reveals the truth about Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā. This text is the essence of all the Vedic scriptures and is the synthesis of all conflicting "isms." Lord Caitanya is the unchallenged spiritual stalwart who propagated the process of surrender to Kṛṣṇa, the conclusion of all the Bhagavad-gītā's teachings. Those who follow in His footsteps are the real yogīs and devotees.
Message of Godhead
We cannot approach the Absolute by our poor fund of knowledge, but the Absolute becomes revealed out of His own mercy by His own appearance. In the darkness of night, the sun cannot be obliged to appear, even by the power of our highest technology. But in the morning the sun reveals itself of its own accord without the help of any materialistic enterprise of ours. When the sun appears, the darkness of the night automatically disappears. It is therefore a truth that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself or His confidential servants manifest themselves by their own potency and without any help from this material world. They descend out of their causeless mercy, just to benefit the fallen souls who are apt to be illusioned by the material energy of Godhead, called the modes of nature.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
The name, form, quality, associates, when we are in service attitude, they become revealed to us. It is not that... Just like we ask you, "What is your name?" So if I ask God, "O God, what is Your name?" God is not subject to our, such, I mean to say, challenging. You see? He will not reveal His name. You cannot understand. If you want to know God by your challenge, that "I can understand, I can see; therefore I shall see God, then I'll...," you'll never see Him. You'll never see. God is not under your challenge. Therefore the qualification of understanding God is surrender. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). And the process of understanding God is from God, not from others. He's so great, how can you understand by your mental speculation?
So here in the Bhagavad-gītā, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is revealing Himself by His causeless mercy. So how does He reveal, we shall try to explain from the Fourth Chapter:
- imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
- proktavān aham avyayam
- vivasvān manave prāha
- manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt
- (BG 4.1)
The Lord says that "This confidential yoga system was explained by Me formerly to the sun-god, Vivasvān."
You cannot increase your attachment for Kṛṣṇa without Kṛṣṇa's mercy. You cannot become devotee... Therefore we have to simply serve Kṛṣṇa, sevonmukhe. By service Kṛṣṇa is very satisfied. Kṛṣṇa does not require anyone's service; He's perfect Himself. But if you give Him service wholeheartedly, sincerely, then by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, you'll make advancement. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ (Brs. 1.2.234). God will reveal. You cannot see God by your these blunt eyes. That is not possible. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva (Bs. 5.38). You have to smear your eyes with the ointment of love. Then Kṛṣṇa will reveal.
So that is called ātma-tattva. Light. At night, darkness, dense darkness, you cannot see anything. I am walking in the dark, but I cannot see my hands and legs, where I am going. I am afraid: "Whether I shall fall into some ditch?" This is my position. Therefore it has to be purified. Ātma-tattva-viśuddhy-arthaṁ yad āha bhagavān ṛtam: "Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality, as He says..." So therefore we have to cleanse ourself, viśuddhy-artha. In order to cleanse, we have to hear from Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is coming. Out His causeless mercy He is coming to reveal Himself, Kṛṣṇa: "It is like this. I am like this. You are like this."
Therefore Kṛṣṇa said, nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ (BG 7.25). He does not become manifest or visible to everyone. Then who..., unto whom He is visible? And that is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ (BG 18.55). So unless you take to this process of bhakti-yoga, you cannot understand what is God. Then you will be misguided. So if you take... Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau (Brs. 1.2.234). You cannot, understand God. But if you take to the devotional service submissively, if you become submissive, surrendered, and you render service to the Lord, then, by His causeless mercy, He becomes revealed, "Here I am. See Me." He talks.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Anything, God's pastimes, that is perceivable through devotional service. Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti (BG 18.55). Only way. This is the process. No other process. No amount of speculation, no amount of academic education, no amount of philosophical discussion can..., one can... It is confirmed in the Vedic literature: nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhya, na bahunā śrutena. Na ayam ātmā... This self-realization is not possible. Nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhya, simply by discussion, nobody can arrive. Nobody can understand what is self-realization, what is Supreme Soul, the Absolute Truth. Nāyam ātmā pravacanena, na medhayā. Medhayā means one who is, who has got very good brain substance, he also cannot. Simply by agitating the brain, brain substance, one cannot understand. Nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhya, na bahunā śrutena, na medhayā. Śrutena, one who is highly educated, very good scholar, he also cannot understand. Then, what is the pro...? Janena saba puruṣe tena labhya: a person to whom God reveals Himself, he can understand. So we have to wait for that and for God's mercy. We have to be engaged in loving, transcendental service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then He'll reveal.
Arrival Addresses and Talks
So this bhakti-yoga is so nice that Kṛṣṇa, or God, who is unapproachable by any other method-however efficient it may be, it is not possible—only by love and devotion in service He can be approached. It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: bhaktyā mām abhijānāti (BG 18.55). Kṛṣṇa has explained in the Bhagavad-gītā all systems-jñāna-yoga system, haṭha-yoga system, karma-yoga system, rāja-yoga system. But at the end He says that "If anyone actually wants to know Me, that is bhakti." Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ. If anyone wants to know Kṛṣṇa as He is... Kṛṣṇa has different features, especially three: brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11)—as impersonal Brahman, all-pervasive Paramātmā, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So if anyone wants to know actually what is Kṛṣṇa... Of course, it is not possible to know Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa reveals to the devotee, svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ, revelation. Just like Kṛṣṇa is explaining Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā. People should know. Why they are searching unnecessarily? Rascaldom. You cannot search out Kṛṣṇa, God, by speculation. If He reveals Himself by His causeless mercy, being merciful upon you, being pleased upon you, then you can understand Kṛṣṇa. You cannot search out Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.
So as eternal servitors of Krishna—our constitutional position—we fall down when we try to become the enjoyer, imitating Krishna. That is our downfall. Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer, and we are constitutionally to be enjoyed by Him, and when we revive this constitutional position where is no more Maya. K.C. gives us the opportunity of rendering service to Krishna, and this service attitude only can replace us on our original position. Please therefore, continue to chant faithfully, and Krishna will reveal Himself, by His Causeless Mercy, and you will know everything automatically. I shall, of course always be ready and anxious to answer any question you have.