Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins with the surrender of the living entity unto the Absolute Person. This surrender is made with clear consciousness and awareness of the devotee's oneness with the Absolute, and, at the same time, of his eternal position of servitorship. In the material conception, one thinks himself to be the Lord of all he surveys; consequently he is always troubled by the threefold miseries of life. As soon as one comes to know his real position in transcendental service, he at once becomes freed from all these miseries. The position of servitor is wasted in the material conception of life. In an attempt to dominate material nature, the living entity is forced to offer his service to relative material energy. When this service is transferred to the Lord in pure consciousness of spiritual identity, the living entity at once becomes free from the encumbrances of material affection.
Pure consciousness (CC and other books)
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, a distinction between real religion and pretentious religion has been clearly made. According to this original and genuine commentation on the Vedānta-sūtra, there are numerous pretentious faiths that pass as religion but neglect the real essence of religion. The real religion of a living being is his natural inborn quality, whereas pretentious religion is a form of nescience that artificially covers a living entity's pure consciousness under certain unfavorable conditions. Real religion lies dormant when artificial religion dominates from the mental plane. A living being can awaken this dormant religion by hearing with a pure heart.
The first and foremost concern of fruitive workers, elevationists, empiric philosophers and salvationists is to raise their material position. But devotees of Godhead have no such selfish desires. They serve the Supreme Lord only for His satisfaction. Śrī Arjuna, wanting to satisfy his senses by becoming a so-called nonviolent and pious man, at first decided not to fight. But when he was fully situated in the principles of bhāgavata-dharma, culminating in complete surrender unto the will of the Supreme Lord, he changed his decision and agreed to fight for the satisfaction of the Lord. He then said:
- naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
- tvat-prasādān mayācyuta
- sthito ’smi gata-sandehaḥ
- kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
"My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions." (BG 18.73) It is the constitutional position of the living entity to be situated in this pure consciousness. Any so-called religious process that interferes with this unadulterated spiritual position of the living being must therefore be considered a pretentious process of religiosity.
“Even if a pure devotee sees the opulence of Kṛṣṇa, he does not accept it. Therefore pure consciousness is more exalted than consciousness of the Lord's opulence."
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Actually, in pure consciousness the living entity understands himself as the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord. Under the spell of illusion, a person accepts the gross and subtle bodies as his self; such a conception is the basis of the doctrine of transference. Actually the part and parcel of the Supreme is not eternally subjected to gross and subtle bodily life. The gross and subtle coverings do not comprise the living entity's eternal form; they can be changed. In other words, the living entity, who is originally pure spirit, can be conditioned by the gross and subtle bodies and, by freeing himself from these gross and subtle conditionings, again attain his situation as pure spirit. Māyāvādī philosophers take advantage of this doctrine of transference by saying that the living entity is under the wrong impression when he thinks himself to be part and parcel of the Supreme. They maintain that the living entity is the Supreme Himself. This doctrine cannot be tenable.
Nectar of Instruction
Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees know very well that this material world is designed by the complete arrangement of the Lord to fulfill all the necessities of life for all living beings, without their having to encroach upon the life or rights of one another. This complete arrangement affords the proper quota of wealth for everyone according to his real needs, and thus everyone may live peacefully according to the principle of plain living and high thinking. Unfortunately, materialists who have neither faith in the plan of God nor any aspiration for higher spiritual development misuse their God-given intelligence only to augment their material possessions. They devise many systems—such as capitalism and materialistic communism—to advance their material position. They are not interested in the laws of God or in a higher goal. Always anxious to fulfill their unlimited desires for sense gratification, they are conspicuous by their ability to exploit their fellow living beings.
When human society gives up these elementary faults enumerated by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī (atyāhāra, etc.), all enmity will cease between men and animals, capitalists and communists, and so forth. In addition, all problems of economic or political maladjustment and instability will be solved. This pure consciousness is awakened by the proper spiritual education and practice offered scientifically by the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
There are various stages of elevation the jīva goes through, which are like different shells (koṣas) covering him. They are the coverings of food (anna-maya), life air (prāṇa-maya), mind (mano-maya, or jñāna-maya), and transcendental knowledge (vijñāna-maya). When the final shell is penetrated, the soul attains pure consciousness, enters the state of complete bliss (ānanda-maya), and experiences sac-cid-ānanda as universal. First the soul has covered consciousness, then he reaches the stage of budding consciousness, then blossoming consciousness, and finally fully blossomed consciousness. And all the while he experiences a gradual expansion of bliss—but only in relation to Lord Kṛṣṇa and His devotional service. At the final stage, flowers, fruits, plants, trees, clay—all objects and elements—become spiritualized by being used in Lord Kṛṣṇa's service. In other words, nothing is seen to be separate from the Lord. As the Īśopaniṣad (1) explains, īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvaṁ: (ISO 1) "Everything animate or inanimate that is within this universe is controlled and owned by the Lord."