The Bhagavad-gītā's process of purifying consciousness is the process of fixing one's mind on Kṛṣṇa by talking of His transcendental activities, cleansing His temple, going to His temple, seeing the beautiful transcendental form of the Lord nicely decorated, hearing His transcendental glories, tasting food offered to Him, associating with His devotees, smelling the flowers and tulasī leaves offered Him, engaging in activities for the Lord's interest, etc. No one can bring the activities of the mind and senses to a stop, but one can purify these activities through a change in consciousness. This change is indicated in Bhagavad-gītā when Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna of the knowledge of yoga whereby one can work without fruitive results. "O son of Pṛthā, when you act by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of works." (BG 2.39) A human being is sometimes restricted in sense gratification due to certain circumstances such as disease, etc., but this is not the prescription. Without knowing the actual process by which the mind and senses can be controlled, less intelligent men either try to stop the mind and senses by force, or they give in to them and are carried away by the waves of sense gratification.
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 7 - 12
Tuṣṭi, satisfaction, means that one should not be eager to gather more and more material goods by unnecessary activity. One should be satisfied with whatever is obtained by the grace of the Supreme Lord; that is called satisfaction. Tapas means austerity or penance. There are many rules and regulations in the Vedas which apply here, like rising early in the morning and taking a bath. Sometimes it is very troublesome to rise early in the morning, but whatever voluntary trouble one may suffer in this way is called penance. Similarly, there are prescriptions for fasting on certain days of the month. One may not be inclined to practice such fasting, but because of his determination to make advancement in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he should accept such bodily troubles when they are recommended. However, one should not fast unnecessarily or against Vedic injunctions. One should not fast for some political purpose; that is described in Bhagavad-gītā as fasting in ignorance, and anything done in ignorance or passion does not lead to spiritual advancement. Everything done in the mode of goodness does advance one, however, and fasting done in terms of the Vedic injunctions enriches one in spiritual knowledge.
BG Chapters 13 - 18
The performance of activities for results has to be given up. This is the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā. But activities leading to advanced spiritual knowledge are not to be given up. This will be made clear in the next verses. In the Vedic literature there are many prescriptions of methods for performing sacrifice for some particular purpose. There are certain sacrifices to perform to attain a good son or to attain elevation to the higher planets, but sacrifices prompted by desires should be stopped. However, sacrifice for the purification of one's heart or for advancement in the spiritual science should not be given up.
SB Canto 1
The word bhagavān is sometimes used in relation with some of the great devotees of the Lord, like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Such liberated souls are disinterested in the affairs of this material world because they are self-satisfied by the great achievements of devotional service. As explained before, Śukadeva Gosvāmī never accepted any formal spiritual master, nor did he undergo any formal reformatory performances. His father, Vyāsadeva, was his natural spiritual master because Śukadeva Gosvāmī heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from him. After this, he became completely self-satisfied. Thus he was not dependent on any formal process. The formal processes are necessary for those who are expected to reach the stage of complete liberation, but Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī was already in that status by the grace of his father. As a young boy he was expected to be properly dressed, but he went about naked and was uninterested in social customs. He was neglected by the general populace, and inquisitive boys and women surrounded him as if he were a madman. He thus appears on the scene while traveling on the earth of his own accord. It appears that upon the inquiry of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the great sages were not unanimous in their decision as to what was to be done. For spiritual salvation there were many prescriptions according to the different modes of different persons. But the ultimate aim of life is to attain the highest perfectional stage of devotional service to the Lord. As doctors differ, so also sages differ in their different prescriptions. While such things were going on, the great and powerful son of Vyāsadeva appeared on the scene.
SB Canto 2
People in general are always anxious to have peace of mind or peace in the world, but they do not know how to achieve such a standard of peace in the world. Such peace in the world is obtainable by performances of sacrifice and by practice of austerity. In the Bhagavad-gītā (5.29) the following prescription is recommended:
- bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
- suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
- jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
"The karma-yogīs know that the Supreme Lord is the factual enjoyer and maintainer of all sacrifices and of the austere life. They also know that the Lord is the ultimate proprietor of all the planets and is the factual friend of all living entities. Such knowledge gradually converts the karma-yogīs into pure devotees of the Lord through the association of unalloyed devotees, and thus they are able to be liberated from material bondage."
SB Canto 3
There are sixty-four different prescriptions for worship of the Deity in the temple. There are many items offered to the Deity, some valuable and some less valuable. It is prescribed in Bhagavad-gītā: "If a devotee offers Me a small flower, a leaf, some water or a little fruit, I will accept it." The real purpose is to exhibit one's loving devotion to the Lord; the offerings themselves are secondary. If one has not developed loving devotion to the Lord and simply offers many kinds of foodstuffs, fruits and flowers without real devotion, the offering will not be accepted by the Lord. We cannot bribe the Personality of Godhead. He is so great that our bribery has no value. Nor has He any scarcity; since He is full in Himself, what can we offer Him? Everything is produced by Him. We simply offer to show our love and gratitude to the Lord.
SB Canto 4
Svāyambhuva Manu was very glad to see that his daughter Ākūti had given birth to both a boy and girl. He was afraid that he would take one son and that because of this his son-in-law Ruci might be sorry. Thus when he heard that a daughter was born along with the boy, he was very glad. Ruci, according to his promise, returned his male child to Svāyambhuva Manu and decided to keep the daughter, whose name was Dakṣiṇā. One of Lord Viṣṇu's names is Yajña because He is the master of the Vedas. The name Yajña comes from yajuṣāṁ patiḥ, which means "Lord of all sacrifices." In the Yajur Veda there are different ritualistic prescriptions for performing yajñas, and the beneficiary of all such yajñas is the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. Therefore it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (3.9), yajñārthāt karmaṇaḥ: one should act, but one should perform one's prescribed duties only for the sake of Yajña, or Viṣṇu. lf one does not act for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or if one does not perform devotional service, then there will be reactions to all one's activities. It does not matter if the reaction is good or bad; if our activities are not dovetailed with the desire of the Supreme Lord, or if we do not act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then we shall be responsible for the results of all our activities.
The Supreme Lord is always in His sac-cid-ānanda (Bs. 5.1) form, but the living entity, although part and parcel of the Lord, becomes materially contaminated when he desires to come to the material world for material enjoyment. The prescription for returning home, back to Godhead, is given by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (9.34):
- man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
- mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
- mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
- ātmānaṁ mat-parāyaṇaḥ
"Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me."
SB Canto 5
"All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajña (sacrifice), and yajña is born of prescribed duties." These are the prescriptions given in Bhagavad-gītā (3.14). If people follow these principles in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, human society will be prosperous, and they will be happy both in this life and in the next.
SB Canto 9
In Bhagavad-gītā (7.1) the Lord recommends, mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ. This indicates that one must execute devotional service under the guidance of a devotee or directly under the guidance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not possible, however, to train oneself without guidance from the spiritual master. Therefore, according to the instructions of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the first business of a devotee is to accept a bona fide spiritual master who can train him to engage his various senses in rendering transcendental service to the Lord. The Lord also says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.1), asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu. In other words, if one wants to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead in completeness, one must follow the prescriptions given by Kṛṣṇa by following in the footsteps of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. It is said, hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate: (CC Madhya 19.170) bhakti means to engage the senses in the service of the master of the senses, Kṛṣṇa, who is called Hṛṣīkeśa or Acyuta. These words are used in these verses. Acyuta-sat-kathodaye, hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane. The words Acyuta and Hṛṣīkeśa are also used in Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is kṛṣṇa-kathā spoken directly by Kṛṣṇa, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also kṛṣṇa-kathā because everything described in the Bhāgavatam is in relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
My dear King, in Dvāpara-yuga men who desire to know the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme enjoyer, worship Him in the mood of honoring a great king, following the prescriptions of both the Vedas and tantras.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, there is no end to the innumerable Vedic prescriptions for executing Deity worship; so I shall explain this topic to you briefly, one step at a time.
Now please listen faithfully as I explain exactly how a person who has achieved twice-born status through the relevant Vedic prescriptions should worship Me with devotion.
In the Tretā age people are devoted to ritual performances and severe austerities. They are not excessively violent or very lusty after sensual pleasure. Their interest lies primarily in religiosity, economic development and regulated sense gratification, and they achieve prosperity by following the prescriptions of the three Vedas. Although in this age society evolves into four separate classes, O King, most people are brāhmaṇas.
“It is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam's opinion that the process of Deity worship is not actually necessary, just as the specific prescriptions of the Pañcarātra and other scriptures do not have to be followed. The Bhāgavatam enjoins that even without practicing Deity worship one can achieve the complete success of human life by any of the other devotional processes, such as simply offering oneself at the Lord's feet for His protection. Nonetheless, Vaiṣṇavas following the path of Śrī Nārada and his successors endeavor to establish a personal relationship with the Lord by receiving the grace of a bona fide spiritual master through initiation, and in this tradition the devotees are obliged at the time of initiation to begin engaging in Deity worship.
A well-to-do householder Vaiṣṇava cannot live like a person in the renounced order who completely takes shelter of the holy name. Such a householder should chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in the morning, at midday and in the evening. Then he will be able to cross beyond nescience. Pure devotees in the renounced order, however, who fully surrender to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, should chant the holy name of the Lord with great love and faith, always thinking of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet. They should have no occupation other than chanting the holy name of the Lord. In the Bhakti-sandarbha (283), Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says:
yady api śrī-bhāgavata-mate pañca-rātrādi-vad-arcana-mārgasyāvaśyakatvaṁ nāsti, tad vināpi śaraṇāpatty-ādīnām ekatareṇāpi puruṣārtha-siddher abhihitatvāt.
“It is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam's opinion that the process of Deity worship is not actually necessary, just as the specific prescriptions of the Pañcarātra and other scriptures do not have to be followed. The Bhāgavatam enjoins that even without practicing Deity worship one can achieve the complete success of human life by any of the other devotional processes, such as simply offering oneself at the Lord's feet for His protection.”
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
The brāhmaṇas could understand the purpose of the Lord, and thus they suggested that He atone in a manner beneficial to them. They said, "Our dear Lord, there is a very powerful demon of the name Balvala. He is the son of Ilvala, and he visits this sacred place of sacrifice every fortnight on the full moon and moonless days and creates a great disturbance to the discharge of our duties in the sacrifice. O descendant of the Daśārha family, we all request You to kill this demon. We think that if You kindly kill him, that will be Your atonement on our behalf. The demon occasionally comes here and profusely throws upon us contaminated, impure things like pus, blood, stool, urine and wine; he pollutes this sacred place by showering such filth upon us. After killing Balvala, You may continue touring all the sacred places of pilgrimage for twelve months, and in that way You will be completely freed from all contamination. That is our prescription."