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There are twenty kinds of dharma-sastra composed by Manu, Parasara and others. They are very difficult. All of them are meant for counteracting our sinful life

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"There are twenty kinds of dharma-sastra composed by Manu, Parasara and others. They are very difficult. All of them are meant for counteracting our sinful life"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

There are twenty kinds of dharma-śāstra composed by Manu, Parāśara and others. They are very difficult. All of them are meant for counteracting our sinful life. This, as we have explained, material life is so arranged that even you do not like to commit some sin, in course of your life there will be sinful reaction.
Lecture on SB 6.3.25-26 -- Gorakhpur, February 18, 1971:

So Śrīdhara Svāmī says, "As a physician without knowing the presence of mṛta-sañjīvanī..." In Ayurvedic medicine system there is a medicine which is called mṛta-sañjīvanī. Mṛta-sañjīvanī. Mṛta means death, and sañjīvanī means giving life. Even a dead man can get life by drinking that medicine. It is a strong tonic. It is still used in Ayurvedic medicine, and some of the biggest manufacturer of Ayurvedic medicine, they prepare, and it has a good sale. So it may not be exactly the same mṛta-sañjīvanī, but it is very well known. So Śrīdhara Svāmī says... Just like one, a person, is suffering from fever, so according to Ayurvedic medicine, tri-kaṭu... Tri means three, and kaṭu means bitter. Tri-kaṭu, just like nim, nim fruits, kālamegha and ciratā. They are prescribed, very bitter to eat. So Śrīdhara Svāmī gives this example: "Without knowing that there is a very nice medicine, mṛta-sañjīvanī, they takes so many troublesome medicines. Similarly, the great stalwart leaders of religious principles, without knowing this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, they take to so many troublesome, multiritualistic ceremonies."

Viṁśati-prakāra-dharma-śāstrāḥ. There are twenty kinds of dharma-śāstra composed by Manu, Parāśara and others. They are very difficult. All of them are meant for counteracting our sinful life. This, as we have explained, material life is so arranged that even you do not like to commit some sin, in course of your life there will be sinful reaction. Just like we sing the prayers of Viśvanātha Cakravartī, saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka **. This world is so situated that there is a blazing fire always in this material world. Even if you do not want, still, that fire is there. Nobody wants blazing fire, dāvānala. Dāvānala means forest fire. Nobody goes to set fire in the forest, but it takes place. Similarly, this material world is also like that. Nobody wants, but still, miserable condition of life come in. Just like in Calcutta, nobody wanted the Naxalite disturbance, but it has come. There are so many troubles. And why this happens? Because their unconscious activities of sinful life... Just like we are walking on the street. Unconsciously, we are killing so many small ants and insects, unconsciously. I do not wish to kill, but we are, having situated, we are, being situated in material condition of life, we are unconsciously killing so many living entities. Therefore, according to the Vedic rites, the injunction is that one has to perform yajñas, sacrifices. And without that sacrifice you'll be liable to be punishment for that unconscious killing of small animals. As such, those who are actually fearful of a sinful reaction of life, they perform yajñas. But here it is said that the mahājanas, the great leaders of religions, without knowing his simple method of getting out of sinful life, they take to so many yajñas prescribed in the Vedas. Prāyeṇa veda tad idaṁ na mahājano 'yaṁ devyā vimohita-matir bata māyayālam: "Practically they were also bewildered by the influence of māyā." They do not know that there is such a medicine. The example is given, mṛta-sañjīvanī. But they take to bitter medical drugs like nim, ciratā and kālamegha. That is explained by Śrīdhara Svāmī. Mṛta-saṁyamani viṣam ajānanta auṣadham ajānanta vaidya roga-nirharaṇāya tri-kaṭu nimva dini smaran, tatha svayambhūḥ sanmukha-pramukhat dvādaśa, dvādaśa vyatire kenayam mahājana api guhyam idam ajñāta-dvādaśādhikaṁ smaranti.(?)

So the great compiler of religious scripture, headed by Manu and others, without knowing the simple method, they prescribe gorgeous ritualistic ceremonies. Kim ca māyayā divyalam vimohitam matir ayam jana madhu, madhunam yatha bhavati evam puspitayam puṣpa-sthaniya ratavadi mano-harayam trayyam jadi-kṛta abhinivista-matir yasya ata eva mahaty eva karmany agni-stomadau śraddhayā yujyamānaḥ.(?) So being bewildered by the material or external energy, they take to these gorgeous ceremonies or sacrificial performances. Actually there is no need. The whole thing is that Śrīdhara Svāmī is giving stress very strongly that you can simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without undergoing any ritualistic ceremonies. Actually it is very difficult to understand. Mādhavendra Purī, our predecessor ācārya, he also has composed a nice verse. He says, "My dear gāyatrī-mantra, I offer you my respect, but no more I can chant gāyatrī-mantra." In this way... Taking bath early in the morning, that's a good recommendation for spiritual advancement. But Mādhavendra Purī said, "Now I am unable to execute this order. Please excuse me." In this way he has described in many ways. At last, he concludes that "I shall sit down somewhere underneath a tree and simply remember Govinda's name. That is sufficient. Yes." He says, "Please excuse me, please excuse me, please excuse me."

But this Mādhavendra's statement is not for the neophyte devotees. We should not imitate Mādhavendra Purī. Mādhavendra Purī was the spiritual master of Īśvara Purī, and Īśvara Purī was the spiritual master of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So the position of Mādhavendra Purī, the position of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, they are different from our position. We should not imitate, that "Because Mādhavendra Purī gave up everything and simply concentrated his mind in chanting mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, or Haridāsa Ṭhākura, therefore I shall also do that. I shall not rise early in the morning. I shall not take bath. I shall not worship the Deity. Simply I shall..." That is not possible. That is not possible. But actually, if anyone can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra offenselessly and in devotion and love... There the first thing is love—not force—love, what is called automatically, spontaneous. Spontaneous. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī, he said that "How I shall chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in one tongue? If I had hundreds and thousands of tongues, then I could chant and relish what is Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra." That is a different stage. We should not imitate. But actually this is a fact, that simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you can get relief from all kinds of performances, ritualistic ceremonies. That is the point stressed by Śrīdhara Svāmī.

evaṁ vimṛśya sudhiyo bhagavaty anante
sarvātmanā vidadhate khalu bhāva-yogam
te me na daṇḍam arhanty atha yady amīṣāṁ
syāt pātakaṁ tad api hanty urugāya-vādaḥ
(SB 6.3.26)

Now Yamarāja is saying that evaṁ vimṛśya sudhiyo bhagavaty anante. One who is so much attached unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he constantly associates with Him simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, or by performing the devotional service... Yamarāja does not, I mean to say, give only stress on the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. He is giving stress on different process of devotional service. Bhagavaty anante sarvātmanā vidadhate khalu bhāva-yogam. Sarvātmanā. Sarvātmanā means "in all respect." And bhāva-yogam means bhakti-yogam. So if anyone seriously takes to bhakti-yoga process without any reservation—that means śuddha-bhakti, unalloyed devotional service, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (Brs. 1.1.11), as we have explained several times—then evaṁ vimṛśya sudhiyo bhagavaty anante sarvātmanā... There is another verse in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṟṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
(SB 11.5.41)

Sarvātmanā, this word, is very important. The Kṛṣṇa also asks when He said that "Giving up all other kinds of engagement of religious process, simply surrender unto Me." That is called sarvātmanā, "with all heart, with all intention, without any reservation," sarvātmanā, the exact meaning. Yamarāja says that "One who has taken to devotional service," sarvātmanā, "very seriously, and without any deviation," sarvātmanā vidadhate khalu bhāva-yogam, te me na daṇḍam arhanti, "they are not," I mean to say, "within the jurisdiction of my punishment." It is clearly said, yama-daṇḍa. Those who are devotees, they are out of the jurisdiction of ruling of Yamarāja. It is especially stated here, te me na daṇḍam arhanti: "They are not liable for my punishment. Even they commit some mistake or fall down, or even they commit a very sinister, sinful activity, still, they are not under my jurisdiction." Kṛṣṇa also says in the Bhagavad-gītā, api cet sudurācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ (BG 9.30). But this concession... There are many other concessions. Kṛṣṇa says that "Anyone who is engaged in devotional service, if unintentionally he commits some mistake and offense, I excuse."

So these are special cases, not that because Kṛṣṇa promises to excuse... Because Kṛṣṇa says that "Even though he has committed such sinful activities, still, he's a sādhu," and although Yamarāja says that "Those who are engaged in devotional service, they are out of my jurisdiction of punishment," so we should not take advantage of this concession. That is a great offense, greatest offense. Nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. These concessions are there for the devotees, but not for intentional committing sinful activity. If by accident, if by previous habit, one commits some mistake or falls down, that is excused. And one should be repentant: "My dear Lord, I have committed this offense. Please excuse me." And one should fast. One should be very much repentant. Then Kṛṣṇa is so kind. But he hasn't got to take to the prāyaścitta or, what is called, atonement system. A devotee hasn't got to do that. A devotee's sinful activities is excused, and if he is repentant, then he is again elevated to his original position. That is the verdict of all śāstras.