So incarnation of God, there is no limit. The example is given. Just like there is no limit of waves in the ocean, similarly, there is no limit of incarnation. Sattva-nidheḥ. Nidhi means ocean, and sattva means existentional. And sattva means also goodness. Sattva-nidheḥ. So goodness, here in this material world there is the modes of nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. But real goodness is in the spiritual world. Here in the material world the goodness is, of course, taken as the highest quality, but such goodness is liable to be infected by the other two qualities, passion and ignorance. It is exposed. And here also, goodness is also the cause of bondage in this material world. As passion is cause of bondage, ignorance is also cause of bondage, similarly, the material goodness is also cause of bondage. So we have to transcend the material goodness also. Then, when we get stability of goodness, that is spiritual life. When it is disturbed by passion and ignorance, that means it is not yet perfect. Therefore, sometimes we find a student is doing everything nice goodness, but he is attacked by passion and ignorance, and he becomes entangled.
So real goodness means without being attacked by the other modes, passion and ignorance. That goodness is in God. Hareḥ sattva-nidheḥ. When you go to the spiritual platform, sattvaṁ viśuddham... That spiritual platform is called goodness unaffected by other qualities. Sattvaṁ viśuddham. Viśuddham means complete pure. No adulteration. So long we are in the material platform, the goodness is liable to be adulterated. Just like we purchase milk from the market or anything. There is adulteration. Although there are so many laws by the government, "You cannot adulterate, you cannot do this, you cannot...," but people, propensity is to adulterate. So you cannot get pure thing. The whole atmosphere is so polluted. Therefore here the so-called goodness also is the cause of bondage. "Now I have become a Vaiṣṇava. I have become now learned." And God is so clever that "Now you fight with this passion and ignorance, if you are so good." And he fails, falls a victim. You see? So by pure devotional service only, you can remain in pure goodness. Otherwise it will be adulterated. Pure devotional service.
What is that pure devotional service? Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Brs. 1.1.11). No material desire. Because desire is the cause. If I think... I am brahmacārī, but I am thinking of always sex or woman... They have been described in the Bhagavad-gītā as cheater. Therefore we have to think of Kṛṣṇa always. Otherwise, as soon as there is little loophole, māyā will enter immediately and make your goodness adulterated. Māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate (BG 14.26). Avyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena. Without any adulteration. Anyone who is engaged in devotional service without any adulteration,
- māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
- bhakti-yogena sevate
- sa guṇān samatītyaitān
- brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
- (BG 14.26)
Guṇān, plural number. Guṇān means this material world: goodness, passion and ignorance, three kinds of qualities. He can surpass these three qualities of material. Sa guṇāṇ samatītya etān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. At that time he becomes completely spiritualized. He is spirit soul.
Every one of us, we are spirit soul, part and parcel of God, but we have been now covered by the material qualities. So the example is given... I think I have several times recited this example. When the spirit soul is separated from God... Just like a small sparks is separated from the whole fire, (knocking sound) falls down... What is that sound? So the sparks falls down on the ground. So there are three possibilities. If the sparks falls on dry grass, then immediately there is little fire, because grass is dry. And if it falls down on the green vegetation, then it is not immediately extinguished. There is little heat. But if the sparks falls down in the water, then immediately extinguished. So as soon as we are separated from God... We are all parts and parcel of God. Separation means when I want to imitate God. I want to become exactly... Because enviousness, due to enviousness... Icchā-dveṣa samutthena (BG 7.27). When we become envious... "Oh, God is enjoyer, so why not I become an enjoyer?" "Yes," God says, "you become enjoyer." So then he falls down in this material world.
So if he falls down or contacts the mode of goodness, that is considered the fire spark falling on dry grass. Dry grass means... Goodness means one who is situated almost on the spiritual platform. Just like the brahminical qualification: truthfulness, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, simplicity, full of knowledge, practical application of knowledge in life, and completely faith in God. That is brahminical qualification. Satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā ārjavam, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). And passion means strong desire to enjoy this material world. Generally, the kings, the politicians, they are very much passionate to encroach upon other's property, other nations, like that. And ignorance means they are neither passionate nor good. "All right, let me eat something and sleep." That's all. That is ignorance. They are satisfied if they get good opportunity for sleeping. That's all. That is ignorance.
So these three qualities are there within this material world. And one has to transcend these three qualities. And that can be done... Anyone can do that. Kṛṣṇa does not say that only the person who is in goodness, who has the brahminical platform, he can be engaged. Actually, he can be engaged, not in the passion. But if you be engaged in devotional service, then immediately you transcend all the qualities. You become more than brāhmaṇa-Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava means he is transcendental to the brahminical qualities also. But if you do not maintain even brahminical qualities, then where you are a Vaiṣṇava?
So to become a Vaiṣṇava is not so easy thing, because it is transcendental to the brahminical quality. But it is very easy. Lord Caitanya has made it easy, provided you stick to the principles. If you simply chant regularly Hare Kṛṣṇa... This is the special facility for the people in this age. You can remain steady in transcendental position. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam (CC Antya 20.12). As soon as you remain in the offenseless chanting platform, immediately you become transcendental to these material qualities. Very simple. You don't require to study Vedānta. The Vedānta is there. It reveals,
- yasya deve parā bhaktir
- yathā deve tathā gurau
- tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
- prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
- (ŚU 6.23)
The Vedānta philosophy will reveal automatically. You haven't got to study. But provided you have got unflinching faith in God and spiritual master, all this Vedānta knowledge will be revealed within you. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau. Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya (CC Madhya 19.151). Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said that you can make advancement in spiritual life by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and guru. You don't try to overlap guru and get Kṛṣṇa's mercy immediately. That is not possible. That is not possible. You have to go through the proper channel. Anyone who is thinking that "I shall make spiritual advancement without guru," he is wrongly thinking. It is not possible. Just like if you want to see a big man, you have to go through the servant of that man. You have to take permission. The servant may say, "Sir, such and such man wants to see you. He is very nice man, appears to be a good man." "Oh," the master says, "he is good man? All right, bring him." By the recommendation of the servant.