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Regardless of one's social or spiritual position, however, one who is lacking in devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, cannot be released from material bondage, even if he executes his prescribed duty

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"Regardless of one's social or spiritual position, however, one who is lacking in devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, cannot be released from material bondage, even if he executes his prescribed duty"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Teachings of Lord Caitanya

Regardless of one's social or spiritual position, however, one who is lacking in devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, cannot be released from material bondage, even if he executes his prescribed duty. On the contrary, he will glide down to hell due to material consciousness. Therefore, whoever is engaged in his occupational or spiritual duty must simultaneously cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness in devotional service if he wants liberation from the material clutches.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 11:

There are four social divisions of human society: the brāhmaṇas, or intellectuals; the kṣatriyas, or administrators; the vaiśyas, or businessmen and farmers; and the śūdras, or laborers. There are also four spiritual orders, or āśramas: the brahmacārīs, or students; the gṛhasthas, or householders; the vānaprasthas, or retired persons; and the sannyāsīs, or those in renounced life. Regardless of one's social or spiritual position, however, one who is lacking in devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, cannot be released from material bondage, even if he executes his prescribed duty. On the contrary, he will glide down to hell due to material consciousness. Therefore, whoever is engaged in his occupational or spiritual duty must simultaneously cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness in devotional service if he wants liberation from the material clutches.

In this regard, Lord Caitanya recited two verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.2–3) that were spoken by Nārada Muni to indicate the path of bhāgavata cultivation. Nārada pointed out that the four social divisions of human society, as well as the four orders of life, are born from the gigantic universal form of the Lord, the virāṭ-puruṣa. The brāhmaṇas are born from the mouth of the universal form, the kṣatriyas are born from the arms, the vaiśyas from the waist, and the śūdras from the legs. As such, the members of all these social orders are qualified in the different modes of material nature within the form of the virāṭ-puruṣa. But if a person is not engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, he falls from his position, regardless of whether he executes his prescribed occupational duty or not.

Lord Caitanya further pointed out that although those who belong to the Māyāvāda, or impersonalist, school consider themselves to be one with God, or liberated, they are not actually liberated, as confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):

ye ’nye ’ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas
tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho ’nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ

"Those who think that they are liberated according to Māyāvāda philosophy but who do not take to the devotional service of the Lord fall down for want of devotional service, even after they undergo the severest types of penances and austerities, and even after they sometimes approach the supreme position."

Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained that Kṛṣṇa is just like the sun and that Māyā, the illusory material energy, is just like darkness. Therefore one who is constantly in the sunshine of Kṛṣṇa cannot possibly be deluded by the darkness of the material energy. This is very clearly confirmed in the last of the four principal verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.34), as well as in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.5.13, which states: "The illusory energy, or Māyā, is ashamed to stand before the Lord." Nonetheless, the living entities are constantly being bewildered by this very same illusory energy. In his conditioned state, the living entity discovers many forms of word jugglery to get apparent liberation from the clutches of Māyā, but if he sincerely surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa by simply once saying "My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, from this day I am Yours," he at once gets out of the clutches of the material energy. This is confirmed in the Rāmāyaṇa (Yuddha-kāṇḍa 18.33), wherein the Lord says:

sakṛd eva prapanno yas tavāsmīti ca yācate
abhayaṁ sarvadā tasmai dadāmy etad vrataṁ mama

"It is My duty and vow to give all protection to one who surrenders unto Me without reservation." One may develop the desire to enjoy fruitive activities, liberation, jñāna or the perfection of the yoga system, but if one becomes very intelligent he will give up all these paths and engage himself in sincere devotional service to the Lord. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.10) confirms that an intelligent person, whether free of desires or full of desires for material enjoyment or desirous of liberation, should engage in intense devotional service. Those who are ambitious to derive material benefit from devotional service are not pure devotees, but because they are engaged in devotional service they are considered fortunate. They do not know that the result of devotional service is not material benediction, but because they engage in devotional service of the Supreme Lord they ultimately come to understand that material enjoyment is not its goal. Kṛṣṇa says that persons who want some material benefit in exchange for devotional service are certainly foolish because they want something that is poisonous for them. Yet although a person may desire material benefits from Kṛṣṇa, the Lord, being all-powerful, considers the person's position and gradually liberates him from a materially ambitious life and engages him in more devotional service. When one is actually engaged in devotional service, he forgets his material ambitions and desires. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.19.27):

satyaṁ diśaty arthitam arthito nṛṇāṁ
naivārtha-do yat punar arthitā yataḥ
svayaṁ vidhatte bhajatām anicchatām
icchā-pidhānaṁ nija-pāda-pallavam

"Lord Kṛṣṇa certainly fulfills the desires of His devotees who come to Him in devotional service, but He does not fulfill desires that would again cause miseries. In spite of being materially ambitious, such devotees, by rendering transcendental service to the Lord, are gradually purified of desires for material enjoyment and come to desire the pleasure of devotional service."

Generally people come into the association of devotees to mitigate some material wants, but the influence of a pure devotee frees a man from all material desires by enabling him to relish the taste of devotional service. Devotional service is so nice and pure that it purifies the devotee, and he forgets all material ambitions as soon as he engages fully in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa. A practical example is Dhruva Mahārāja, who wanted something material from Kṛṣṇa and therefore engaged in devotional service. When the Lord appeared before Dhruva as four-handed Viṣṇu, Dhruva told Him: "My dear Lord, because I engaged in Your devotional service with great austerity and penances, I am now seeing You, whom even great demigods and sages have difficulty seeing. Now I am pleased, and all my desires are satisfied. I do not want anything else. I was searching for some broken glass, but instead I have found a great and valuable gem." Thus Dhruva Mahārāja expressed his full satisfaction and refused to ask anything from the Lord.