The sagarbha and nigarbha yogīs can be further divided into three categories: the beginner, the ascendent, and he who has already attained perfection. These yogīs are described in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā. Those who are trying to ascend on the path of mystic yoga are called ārurukṣu. In ārurukṣu yoga, various sitting postures are practiced, and the mind is concentrated. But when one has already ascended to the path of yoga, meditation and detachment are the goals, and when one is no longer attached to working for sense gratification, he gradually becomes free. At that time he also attains a state of ecstasy called yoga ārūḍha. If these mystic yogīs somehow or other come in contact with a saintly person, they become devotees of Kṛṣṇa.
Ascending (CC and other books)
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. In other words, impersonalists who depend upon the strength of their poor fund of knowledge and morbid speculative habits, without submission and service in the forms of hearing, chanting and the others mentioned above, cannot penetrate to the mysterious region of transcendence where the Supreme Truth is a transcendental person, free from all tinges of the material elements. Discovering the mystery of the Lord eliminates the impersonal feature realized by common spiritualists who are merely trying to enter the spiritual region from the mundane platform.
The paths of the culture of knowledge (jñāna-mārga) and of mystic powers (yoga-mārga) are equally hazardous, for one does not know where one will go by following these uncertain methods. An empiric philosopher in search of spiritual knowledge may endeavor most laboriously for many, many births in mental speculation, but unless and until he reaches the stage of the purest quality of goodness—in other words, until he transcends the plane of material speculation—it is not possible for him to know that everything emanates from the Personality of Godhead Vāsudeva. His attachment to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord makes him unfit to rise to that transcendental stage of vasudeva understanding, and therefore because of his unclean state of mind he glides down again into material existence, even after having ascended to the highest stage of liberation. This falldown takes place due to his want of a locus standi in the service of the Supreme Lord.
Through their service, devotees see that Personality of Godhead, just as the denizens of heaven see the personality of the sun.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has His eternal form, which cannot be seen by material eyes or mental speculation. Only by transcendental devotional service can one understand the transcendental form of the Lord. The comparison is made here to the qualifications for viewing the personal features of the sun-god. The sun-god is a person who, although not visible to our eyes, is seen from the higher planets by the demigods, whose eyes are suitable for seeing through the glaring sunshine that surrounds him. Every planet has its own atmosphere according to the influence of the arrangement of material nature. It is therefore necessary to have a particular type of bodily construction to reach a particular planet. The inhabitants of earth may be able to reach the moon, but the inhabitants of heaven can reach even the fiery sphere called the sun. What is impossible for man on earth is easy for the demigods in heaven because of their different bodies. Similarly, to see the Supreme Lord one must have the spiritual eyes of devotional service. The Personality of Godhead is unapproachable by those who are habituated to speculation about the Absolute Truth in terms of experimental scientific thought, without reference to the transcendental vibration. The ascending approach to the Absolute Truth ends in the realization of impersonal Brahman and the localized Paramātmā but not the Supreme Transcendental Personality.
(According to the Jyotir-veda, or Vedic astrology, the auspicious birth moment is described as follows:) The moon was in Leo (the figure of the lion in the zodiac), Leo was the ascendant, several planets were strongly positioned, and the ṣaḍ-varga and aṣṭa-varga showed all-auspicious influences.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "Today I have conquered the three worlds very easily. Today I have ascended to the spiritual world."
The goal of human perfection is stated here in brief. One has to surpass all the planetary systems of the material universe, pierce through the covering of the universe and reach the spiritual world, known as Vaikuṇṭhaloka. The Vaikuṇṭhalokas are variegated spiritual planets situated in the Lord's impersonal bodily effulgence, known as the brahmajyoti. One may aspire to elevate himself to a heavenly planet within the material world, such as the moon, the sun or Venus, but if one is spiritually advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he does not wish to remain within the material universe, even in a higher planetary system. Rather, he prefers to penetrate the covering of the universe and attain the spiritual world. He can then be situated in one of the Vaikuṇṭha planets there. However, the devotees under the guidance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu aspire to reach the topmost spiritual planet, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, the residence of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
As long as one is within the limited jurisdiction of fruitive activities or is involved in mental speculation, he may perhaps be eligible to study or teach the theoretical knowledge of Vedānta-sūtra, but he cannot understand the supreme, eternal, transcendental (completely liberated) vibration of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. One who has achieved perfection in chanting the transcendental Hare Kṛṣṇa vibration does not have to separately learn the philosophy of Vedānta-sūtra. According to the teachings of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the bona fide spiritual master, those who do not understand the transcendental vibration as being nondifferent from the Supreme and who try to become Māyāvādī philosophers or experts in Vedānta-sūtra are all fools. Studying Vedānta-sūtra by one's own efforts (the ascending process of knowledge) is another sign of foolishness. He who has attained a taste for chanting the transcendental vibration, however, actually attains the conclusion of Vedānta.
In three out of the four millenniums (namely Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Dvāpara-yuga) people had the honor to be able to understand transcendence through the path of disciplic succession. However, in the present age, people have no interest in the disciplic succession. Instead, they have invented many paths of logic and argument. This individual attempt to understand the supreme transcendence (called the ascending process) is not approved by the Vedas. The Absolute Truth must descend from the absolute platform. He is not to be understood by the ascending process. The holy name of the Lord—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—is a transcendental vibration because it comes from the transcendental platform, the supreme abode of Kṛṣṇa. Because there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and His name, the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is as pure, perfect and liberated as Kṛṣṇa Himself. Academic scholars have no entrance by means of logic and other argument into the understanding of the transcendental nature of the holy name of God.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
In the morning, the gopīs prepared for morning ārati by lighting their lamps and sprinkling butter mixed with yogurt. After finishing their maṅgala-ārati, they engaged themselves in churning butter from yogurt. While the gopīs were thus engaged, the lamps reflected on their ornaments made the ornaments still brighter. Their churning rods, their arms, their earrings, their bangles, their breasts—everything moved, and kuṅkuma powder gave their faces a saffron luster comparable to the rising sun. While making sounds by churning, they also sang the glories of Kṛṣṇa. The two sound vibrations mixed together, ascended to the sky and sanctified the whole atmosphere.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
The fruitive workers cannot be counted among the yogīs. The actual yogīs are the karma-yogīs, the jñāna-yogīs, the aṣṭāṅga-yogīs, and the bhakti-yogīs. Factually they are the same, although named differently. The yogic process is like a ladder one ascends gradually toward the final goal of the Absolute Truth. Niṣkāma-karma, or renunciation of the fruits of one's labor, is the first step on this ladder. When knowledge and austerity are added to it, it becomes jñāna-yoga, the second step in this ladder. And when meditation on the Supreme is added to jñāna-yoga, the third step is reached, namely aṣṭāṅga-yoga. Finally, when loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord is practiced along with aṣṭāṅga-yoga, it is transformed into bhakti-yoga. This entire successive process is yoga.
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.
Real knowledge means to discriminate between truth and illusion. Jñāna-yoga is the process by which one becomes eternally fixed on the path of transcendental devotional service to the Supreme Lord, who is the source of the Supersoul and Brahman. Jñāna-yoga should never be interpreted to mean the ascending process of enquiry, the inductive method, through which one aims only at separating reality from illusion by gradually rejecting the unreal. It is impossible to attain perfect knowledge without serving the Supreme Lord, who is full with all opulences and potencies, whose bodily luster is the Brahman effulgence, and whose partial expansion is the Supersoul. The brāhmaṇa Gopāla Cakravartī believed that jñāna, perfect knowledge, is far superior to devotional service of the Lord.
Mundane philosophers who try to attain the Supreme through the ascending process of knowledge can never achieve their goal. The only result of such an attempt, which naturally confuses them, is that they become rooted to the misunderstanding that man is God and vice versa, thus clearing their way to hell. A few among them may have a moment's glimpse of transcendence, but end up concluding everything backwards. They fall prey to the erroneous impersonal principle.
Message of Godhead
The philosophers and the logicians have tried to understand the intrinsic relationship of living entities with God by various conceptions and methods, on the strength of their mundane education and scholastic research. But the Absolute Truth remains above the philosophers and their acquired knowledge. The conception of the Absolute is never perfectly attained by such an ascending process, because of its being born of imperfect, material senses. These empiric philosophers and logicians cannot realize their imperfection by the vanity of material knowledge, and the ultimate conclusion of such materialistic philosophers is atheism. They deny the existence of God, who is the Supreme Person, different from all other persons. Under such a vague assumption, we remain in the same darkness as before. We are content with a conception of Godhead according to our own individual idea, without knowing the real relationship of Godhead and ourselves.
The physician must heal himself first, before treating the disease of the general public. To gratify the senses of the diseased fellow is not the business of a real physician. A good, qualified physician cannot indulge the patient by merely satisfying him, but must prescribe the real medicine, whether it satisfy the senses of the patient or not.
The leaders therefore must know that the real disease of the people in general is their aversion to serve the almighty Godhead, Viṣṇu. So if, instead of treating the people's inherent disease—atheism—the leaders simply show a superficial sympathy for the disease's symptoms, certainly there will be no benefit whatsoever for suffering humanity. The real remedy for this disease lies in partaking of the remnants of offerings made to Godhead; this is the ideal diet for the spiritual patient. And the medicines include hearing and chanting and remembering the glories of Godhead, worshiping the transcendental form of Godhead, offering Him transcendental service, accepting Him as one's supreme friend and, lastly, surrendering unto Him in all circumstances. The leaders should therefore arrange for this diet and these medicines—if they really want to dissipate the sufferings of humanity.
At the same time, it is pleasing to see that the veteran leader Mahatma Gandhi is trying his best to invent a method for bringing in a godly atmosphere all over the world. He is preaching restraint, toleration, moral principles, and so on. But it is not possible to reach the unlimited by any novel, invented method, which is always limited. The Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, has therefore said in the Bhagavad-gītā that after many births, learned sages eventually surrender unto Him, and that such a mahātmā who is able to connect everything that be to Vāsudeva (the plenary manifestation of Viṣṇu) is rarely to be seen. The purport is that mahātmās are everywhere, but the mahātmā who knows the real relationship between Godhead and the manifested world is very rare.
Such a mahātmā never tries to approach Godhead by any invented method, any inductive, ascending process. Rather, he accepts the standard, deductive, descending process—that is, the method that comes down directly from the Supreme Lord or through His bona fide representatives. By the ascending process, no one can reach the Lord, even by a long-term endeavor of many, many years. What is obtained by this ascending process, however, is imperfect, partial, impersonal knowledge, liable to be deviant from the Absolute Truth.
If you accept the right authority, or source of knowledge, then you save much time. For example, there are two systems of knowledge in the material world: inductive and deductive. From deductive, you accept that man is mortal. Your father says man is mortal, your sister says man is mortal, everyone says man is mortal—but you do not experiment. You accept it as a fact that man is mortal. If you want to research to find out whether man is mortal, you have to study each and every man, and you may come to think that there may be some man who is not dying but you have not seen him yet. So in this way your research will never be finished. In Sanskrit this process is called āroha, the ascending process. If you want to attain knowledge by any personal endeavor, by exercising your imperfect senses, you will never come to the right conclusions. That is not possible.
|Compiled by||Visnu Murti + and MadhuGopaldas +|
|Completed sections||ALL +|
|Date of first entry||December 28, 0008 JL +|
|Date of last entry||November 30, 0009 JL +|
|Total quotes||16 +|
|Total quotes by section||BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 5 +, OB: 11 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 0 + and Let: 0 +|