Devahūti has surrendered her confession of material entanglement and her desire to gain release. Her questions to Lord Kapila are very interesting for persons who are actually trying to get liberation from material entanglement and attain perfection. Unless one is interested in understanding his spiritual life, or his constitutional position, and unless he also feels inconvenience in material existence, his human form of life is spoiled. Only a foolish man does not care for the transcendental necessities of life and simply engages like an animal in eating, sleeping, defending and mating. Lord Kapila was very much satisfied by His mother's questions because the answers stimulate one's desire for liberation from the conditional life of material existence. Such questions are called apavarga-vardhanam. Those who are actually spiritually interested are called sat, or devotees. Satāṁ prasaṅgāt. Sat means "that which eternally exists," and asat means "that which is not eternal." Unless one is situated on the spiritual platform, he is not sat; he is asat. The asat stands on a platform which will not exist, but anyone who stands on the spiritual platform will exist eternally. As spirit soul, everyone exists eternally, but the asat has accepted the material world as his shelter, and therefore he is full of anxiety. Asad-grāhān, the desire to enjoy matter, is the cause of the soul's being asat. Actually, the spirit soul is not asat. As soon as one is conscious of this fact and takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he becomes sat. Satāṁ gatiḥ, the path of the eternal, is very interesting to persons who are after liberation, and His Lordship Kapila began to speak about that path.
Those who are sat are thus transcendentalists advanced in spiritual life, and when they hear questions from those who want to understand spiritual life, they become very happy. Transcendentalists are not interested in worldly talks. Indeed, worldly talks are very disgusting to them, and they avoid the company of those who talk about nonsensical worldly affairs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised His disciples: grāmya-kathā nā śunibe. The word grāmya refers to that pertaining to one's village, society or neighborhood. People are interested in talking about grāmya-kathā. Newspapers, for instance, are filled with grāmya-kathā. There is no spiritual understanding in them. In the United States there are many newspapers, and simply to publish the New York Times many trees have to be killed. Now there is a paper scarcity. Why are they uselessly killing trees just for grāmya-kathā? They are only interested in making a profit.
There is, however, another kind of kathā-kṛṣṇa-kathā. There are literatures which may be nicely presented from the literary point of view, but if there is no glorification of the Supreme Lord, they are useless.
- na yad vacaś citra-padaṁ harer yaśo
- jagat-pavitraṁ pragṛṇīta karhicit
- tad vāyasaṁ tīrtham uśanti mānasā
- na yatra haṁsā niramanty uśik-kṣayāḥ
"Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there." (SB 1.5.10)
Worldly literatures are like places where crows take pleasure. In the bird society, there are crows and swans, and crows are interested in places where filthy things are thrown. However, swans prefer nice clear water with lotus flowers, and it is in such places that they take their pleasure. Similarly, there are men who are like crows and men like swans. That is a natural division. According to an old English proverb, Birds of a feather flock together. Crows mix with crows, and swans mix with swans. Since devotees are like swans (haṁsas), a most advanced devotee is called paramahaṁsa. The paramahaṁsas are not interested in subjects fit for crows. A person who is interested in inquiring about transcendental subjects, kṛṣṇa-kathā, makes a paramahaṁsa very glad. Therefore Kapiladeva was very glad to hear that His mother was eager to receive information on how to be delivered from material bondage:
- atha me deva sammoham
- apākraṣṭuṁ tvam arhasi
- yo 'vagraho 'haṁ mametīty
- etasmin yojitas tvayā
"Now be pleased, my Lord, to dispel my great delusion. Due to my feeling of false ego, I have been engaged by Your māyā and have identified myself with the body and consequent bodily relations." (SB 3.25.10)
Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised His disciples never to eat palatable food, never to talk about village topics and never to read ordinary novels, poems and newspapers. One may ask, "How is it that in the modern age these Europeans and Americans of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement do not take interest in newspapers?" Newspapers are very popular in the West. Each day the papers are published in three or four editions, and they are all selling. However, these American boys and girls who have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness have stopped reading newspapers. They do not know what is happening from day to day, and it does not matter. All of this is a waste of time. It is better that they read literatures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā. Why waste one's valuable time?
Kapiladeva was very glad that His mother was interested only in spiritual advancement. This material world is called pavarga, and to nullify it is called apavarga. In this material world, people are laboring very hard simply to earn some money. This creates a hellish situation, and this is the way of material life. People have become so dull that they do not understand the meaning of liberation. They have become just like animals. If an animal is informed that there is such a thing as liberation, how will he understand it? It is not possible. Similarly, at the present moment, human beings have become exactly like animals. They do not know the meaning of apavarga, liberation. Yet there was a time when people understood that human life was meant for apavarga. The questions are raised by Devahūti, and the answers are given by Kapiladeva. That is apavarga-vardhanam. As far as material maintenance is concerned, the śāstras never stress it. Rather, they say that one's maintenance will come automatically. God gives food to animals, birds and aquatics. Why should He not give it to one who is interested in apavarga? Unfortunately people have no faith, and therefore good association is required.
People should not waste their time associating with crows; they should associate with swans. When garbage is thrown out, crows and dogs come to see what is there, but no sane man will go. Those who are interested in trying to get pleasure out of this material world are actually chewing the chewed. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). If one picks up a piece of sugarcane which has already been chewed, he is a fool. We must know that the juice has already been taken out of that sugarcane. What will one get by chewing it? However, there are animals who are simply interested in chewing the chewed. Material life means chewing the chewed. A father educates his son to earn a livelihood, get married and settle down, but he himself already knows that by doing this he has not become satisfied. Why, then, is he engaging his son in this same business? A real father is one who does not allow his son to chew the chewed. Pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt... na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum: one should not become a father or a mother unless one is able to save his children from the impending clutches of death. (SB 5.5.18) That is the duty of the father and mother. How can this be done? A father and mother should educate their son in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then he can be saved. They should educate the son in such a way that there is no pavarga. If we do not go forward to liberation, we promote a civilization of cats and dogs. Eating, sleeping, mating, defending, fearing and dying are all experienced by cats and dogs, but human life is meant for another purpose. Of course we have to maintain the body; it is not that we should neglect it. But we should not unnecessarily engage in the maintenance of the body.
- yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
- sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
- yat tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
- janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
"A human being who identifies this body made of three elements as the self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of his birth as worshipable, and who goes to a place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered like a cow or an ass." (SB 10.84.13)
From the Vedas we can receive education of all kinds. On a mango tree, there are ripened mangoes and green mangoes. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the ripened mango of the desire tree of Vedic knowledge: nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam (SB 1.1.3). If the mango is tasted by the parrot, it becomes doubly tasty. The word śuka means parrot, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is therefore more relishable from his lips.
- nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
- śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam
- pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayaṁ
- muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
"O expert and thoughtful men, relish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls." (SB 1.1.3) It is regrettable that in India, where these literatures are available, people are not interested. They are interested in Marxist literature but not Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and this is India's misfortune.
When a student hears spiritual subjects attentively, the spiritual master becomes very happy. Kapiladeva was very happy to see His mother eager to understand spiritual subject matters. He therefore thanked His mother for her inquiry.
Generally people are interested in things that give immediate pleasure. We want to taste something tasty to the tongue, regardless of whether it is edible or not. Hogs very readily eat stool, and they do so without discrimination. They have no idea of tapasya, penance. When one engages in spiritual realization, one has to undergo tapasya. However, this has been made very easy by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam (CC Antya 20.12). All we have to do is spare a little time and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, but we are not even ready for this much tapasya. Kṛṣṇa is more interested in leading us down the path of liberation than we are in going. He has given us a very simple method: harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam (CC Adi 17.21). We need only chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. To perfect this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, there is no hard-and-fast rule. Simply by chanting, we will attain perfection. Being contaminated by Kali-yuga, however, we are unfortunate and therefore we have no attraction to the holy names of Kṛṣṇa. Thus when Kapiladeva or His representative sees someone a little interested, he becomes very glad and thanks him. When Kapiladeva saw His mother interested, He thanked her from within, not openly.
Kapiladeva was very glad, and He began to speak. Kapiladeva was an incarnation of God and was a young boy; therefore His face was very beautiful. When He answered this question, He became even more beautiful, and He smiled because He was pleased at His mother's question. Kṛṣṇa is also very beautiful, but when a devotee serves Him and comes to Him, He becomes even more beautiful. When a devotee with all his heart and soul serves Kṛṣṇa, dresses Him in nice garments and gives Him a flower, Kṛṣṇa smiles. If you can get Kṛṣṇa to smile upon you just once, your life's goal is fulfilled.
Thus smiling, Kapiladeva began to enlighten His mother.