Since no one can trace the history of the living entity's entanglement in material energy, Lord Caitanya said that it is beginningless. By "beginningless" He meant that conditioned life exists prior to the creation; it simply becomes manifest during and after the creation. Due to forgetfulness of his real nature, the living entity, although spirit, suffers all kinds of miseries in material existence. It should be understood that there are also living entities who are not entangled in this material energy but are situated in the spiritual world. They are called liberated souls and are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service.
Trace (CC and Other Books)
- 1 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 2 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Advaita Ācārya saw the entire world to be engaged in activities of material piety and impiety, without a trace of devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, anywhere. The fact is that in this material world there is no scarcity of anything except Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Material necessities are supplied by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. We sometimes feel scarcity because of our mismanagement, but the real problem is that people are out of touch with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everyone is engaged in material sense gratification, but people have no plan for making an ultimate solution to their real problems, namely birth, disease, old age and death. These four material miseries are called bhava-roga, or material diseases. They can be cured only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the greatest benediction for human society.
There is another natural symptom of the gopīs' love that shows it to be without a trace of lust.
The natural love of the gopīs is devoid of any trace of lust. It is faultless, bright and pure, like molten gold.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Second Canto) states that in Vaikuṇṭhaloka the material modes of nature, represented by the qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance, have no influence. In the material world the highest qualitative manifestation is goodness, which is characterized by truthfulness, mental equilibrium, cleanliness, control of the senses, simplicity, essential knowledge, faith in God, scientific knowledge and so on. Nevertheless, all these qualities are mixed with passion and imperfection. But the qualities in Vaikuṇṭha are a manifestation of God's internal potency, and therefore they are purely spiritual and transcendental, with no trace of material infection. No material planet, even Satyaloka, is comparable in quality to the spiritual planets, where the five inherent qualities of the material world—namely ignorance, misery, egoism, anger and envy—are completely absent.
Materialists who perform yajñas, or great sacrifices, are comparatively better than grosser materialists who do not know anything beyond laboratories and test tubes. The advanced materialists who perform such sacrifices can reach the planet called Vaiśvānara, a fiery planet similar to the sun. On this planet, which is situated on the way to Brahmaloka, the topmost planet in the universe, such an advanced materialist can free himself from all traces of vice and its effects. When such a materialist is purified, he can rise to the orbit of the pole star (Dhruvaloka). Within this orbit, which is called the Śiśumāra-cakra, are situated the Āditya-lokas and the Vaikuṇṭha planet within this universe.
Cause and effect are material. For example, it is seen that a father's body is the cause of a son's body, but the soul is neither cause nor effect. On the spiritual platform there are none of the differences we find in cause and effect. Since all the forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are spiritually supreme, They are equally controllers of material nature. Standing on the fourth dimension, They are predominating figures on the transcendental platform. There is no trace of material contamination in Their expansions because material laws cannot influence Them. There is no such rule as cause and effect outside of the material world. Therefore the understanding of cause and effect cannot approach the full, transcendental, complete expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Distinguishing between pure devotees and internal or confidential devotees, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his book Upadeśāmṛta, traces the following gradual process of development. Out of many thousands of karmīs, one is better when he is situated in perfect Vedic knowledge. Out of many such learned scholars and philosophers, one who is actually liberated from material bondage is better, and out of many such persons who are actually liberated, one who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is considered to be the best. Among the many such transcendental lovers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the gopīs are the best, and among the gopīs Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the best. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, and similarly Her ponds, namely, Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, are also very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
That does not mean, however, that the abominable qualities of such persons will help free human society from the clutches of māyā. Rather, they will entangle humanity more and more in the reactions of the stringent laws of material nature. One's activities are all performed under the influence of the modes of material nature (prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27)). Because people are now associating with the modes of ignorance (tamo-guṇa) and, to some extent, passion (rajo-guṇa), with no trace of goodness (sattva-guṇa), they are becoming increasingly greedy and lusty, for that is the effect of associating with these modes. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye: "By associating with the two lower qualities of material nature, one becomes lusty and greedy." (SB 1.2.19) Actually, in modern human society, everyone is greedy and lusty, and therefore the only means for deliverance is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's saṅkīrtana movement, which can promote all the Jagāis and Mādhāis to the topmost position of sattva-guṇa, or brahminical culture.
The genealogical table of Sanātana Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī and Vallabha Gosvāmī can be traced back to the twelfth century Śakābda, when a gentleman of the name Sarvajña appeared in a very rich and opulent brāhmaṇa family in the province of Karṇāṭa. He had two sons, named Aniruddhera Rūpeśvara and Harihara, who were both bereft of their kingdoms and thus obliged to reside in the highlands. The son of Rūpeśvara, who was named Padmanābha, moved to a place in Bengal known as Naihāṭī, on the bank of the Ganges. There he had five sons, of whom the youngest, Mukunda, had a well-behaved son named Kumāradeva, who was the father of Rūpa, Sanātana and Vallabha. Kumāradeva lived in Fateyabad, an area bordering Bāklācandradvīpa in East Bengal (now Bangladesh). The present-day village of Prembagh, which lies near Ramshara in the Jessore district of Bangladesh, is said by many to be the site of Kumāradeva's house. Of his many sons, three took to the path of Vaiṣṇavism. Later, Śrī Vallabha and his elder brothers Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana came from Candradvīpa to the village in the Maldah district of Bengal known as Rāmakeli.
The Māyāvādī philosophers in particular make certain hypotheses about the Absolute Truth. They reason that in the material world we experience that everything is created. If we trace the history of anything, we find a creator. Therefore there must be a creator of this huge cosmic manifestation. By such reasoning they come to the conclusion that a higher power has created this cosmic manifestation. The Māyāvādīs do not accept this great power to be a person. Their brains cannot accommodate the fact that the huge cosmic manifestation can be created by a person. They doubt this because as soon as they think of a person, they think of a person within the material world with limited potency. Sometimes the Māyāvādī philosophers will accept Lord Kṛṣṇa or Lord Rāma as Bhagavān, but they think of the Lord as a person having a material body. The Māyāvādīs do not understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, has a spiritual body. They think of Kṛṣṇa as a great personality, a human being, within whom there is the supreme impersonal power, Brahman. Therefore they finally conclude that the impersonal Brahman is the Supreme, not the personality Kṛṣṇa.
"My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate in order to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years."
My dear Lord, I do not possess even a trace of love for Your lotus feet. If I did, how could I have gone to another country? I am therefore a most sinful man.
"(Lord Brahmā said:) "My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years.""
This verse is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.25). The gopīs are all transcendental spirit souls. One should never think that the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa have material bodies. Vṛndāvana-dhāma is also a spiritual abode, and there the days and nights, the trees, flowers and water, and everything else are spiritual. There is not even a trace of material contamination. Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supreme Brahman and Supersoul, is not at all interested in anything material. His activities with the gopīs are all spiritual and take place within the spiritual world. They have nothing to do with the material world. Lord Kṛṣṇa's lusty desires and all His dealings with the gopīs are on the spiritual platform. One has to be transcendentally realized before even considering relishing the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs. One who is on the mundane platform must first purify himself by following the regulative principles. Only then can he try to understand Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī are here talking about the relationship between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs; therefore the subject matter is neither mundane nor erotic. Being a sannyāsī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very strict in His dealings with women. Unless the gopīs were on the spiritual platform, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would have never even mentioned them to Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī. Therefore these descriptions do not at all pertain to material activity.
The word veda means "knowledge." Supreme knowledge consists of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead and our relationship with Him and acting according to that relationship. Action in accordance with the Vedic principles is called religion. Religion means following the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are the injunctions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Āryans are civilized human beings who have been following the Vedic principles since time immemorial. No one can trace out the history of the Vedic principles set forth so that man might understand the Supreme Being. Literature or knowledge that seeks the Supreme Being can be accepted as a bona fide religious system, but there are many different types of religious systems according to the place, the disciples and the people's capacity to understand.
Tell him, "I looked for him a long time, but I could not find any trace of him. He jumped in with his shackles, and therefore he was drowned and washed away by the waves."
"My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue studying the Vedas for many years."
The unalloyed love of the gopīs and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is without any trace of material lust. The criterion of such transcendental love is that its only purpose is to satisfy Kṛṣṇa.
The pure devotional service in Vṛndāvana is like the golden particles in the river Jāmbū. In Vṛndāvana there is not a trace of personal sense gratification. It is to advertise such pure love in this material world that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has written the previous verse and explained its meaning.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
In this universe even the largest planet lies in one corner of outer space. For example, although the sun is a million times larger than the earth, it still lies in one corner of outer space. Similarly, each of the Vaikuṇṭha planets, although unlimited in length and breadth, lies in a corner of the spiritual sky, known as the brahmajyoti. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40) the brahmajyoti is described as niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtam, or undivided and unlimited and without a trace of the material modes of nature. All the Vaikuṇṭha planets are like petals of a lotus flower, and the principal part of that lotus, the center of all the Vaikuṇṭhas, is called Kṛṣṇaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana.
In effect, Śaṅkarācārya preached Māyāvāda philosophy to bewilder a certain type of atheist. Actually he never considered the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, to be impersonal, without body or form. It is best for intelligent persons to avoid lectures on Māyāvāda philosophy. We should understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu is not impersonal. He is a transcendental person, and the basic principle of the cosmic manifestation is His energy. Māyāvāda philosophy cannot trace the energy of the Supreme Lord back to its source, but all Vedic literatures give evidence of the Supreme Lord's various energetic manifestations. Viṣṇu is not a product of material nature, but material nature is a product of Viṣṇu's potency. The Māyāvādī philosophers understand Viṣṇu to be a product of material nature, but if Viṣṇu is a product of material nature, He can only be counted among the demigods. One who considers Viṣṇu to be a demigod is certainly mistaken and misled. How this is so is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.13–14): "Deluded by the three modes of material nature, the whole world does not know Me, who am above the material nature and inexhaustible. My material nature is so powerful that it is very difficult to surpass its spell, even for the greatest scholar, but those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."
The Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is compared to a blazing fire, and the innumerable living entities are compared to sparks emanating from that fire. Although both the Supreme Lord and the living entities are qualitatively fire, there is yet a distinction. Viṣṇu, the Supreme, is infinite, whereas the living entities, which are but sparks, are infinitesimal. The infinitesimal living entities are emanations from the original infinite spirit. In their constitutional position as infinitesimal spirits, there is no trace of matter.
Nectar of Devotion
We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja (Vṛndāvana) is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination. In following the regulative principles of devotional service, there is a stage called anartha-nivṛtti, which means the disappearance of all material contamination. Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas, or unwanted habits. It has been seen that a so-called devotee proclaims himself a follower of Nanda, Yaśodā or the gopīs, while at the same time his abominable attraction for mundane sex life is visible. Such a manifestation of divine love is mere imitation and has no value. When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopīs, there will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in his character.
Sometimes it is found that when staunch logicians, without any trace of devotional service and without actually understanding the transcendental glories of the Lord, sit down to hear the glories of the Lord, they appear to be melting and shedding tears. In this connection there is a statement by a devotee who addresses the Lord thus: "My dear Mukunda, I cannot properly express the glories of Your pastimes. Even when the nondevotees hear of Your glorious pastimes they become affected and shed tears and start to tremble." Such nondevotees are not actually melted; they are hardhearted. But the influence of the glories of the Lord is so great that even the nondevotees sometimes shed tears.
When transcendental humors in relationship with Kṛṣṇa become mixed (e.g., when the relationships with Kṛṣṇa in friendship, servitorship and parental love become mixed together), the result is called mixed humor or flavor. Such mixed transcendental flavors are manifested by such devotees as Uddhava, Bhīma and Mukharā, the personal attendant of mother Yaśodā. Although devotional humors are sometimes found in mixtures, a particular humor is always found to be a prominent and constant factor. That prominent humor is to be accepted as the devotee's main relationship with Kṛṣṇa. For example, Uddhava is in relationship with Kṛṣṇa as a friend, but in Uddhava's character a trace of servitude to Kṛṣṇa is also visible. Such friendship is called friendship in reverence. The friendship typified by Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā, however, is the standard of friendship without any tinge of reverence.
When the Pāṇḍavas were banished by Duryodhana and forced to live incognito in the forest, no one could trace out where they were staying. At that time, the great sage Nārada met Lord Kṛṣṇa and said, "My dear Mukunda, although You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the all-powerful person, by making friendship with You the Pāṇḍavas have become bereft of their legitimate right to the kingdom of the world—and, moreover, they are now living in the forest incognito. Sometimes they must work as ordinary laborers in someone else's house. These symptoms appear to be very inauspicious materially, but the beauty is that the Pāṇḍavas have not lost their faith and love for You, in spite of all these tribulations. In fact, they are always thinking of You and chanting Your name in ecstatic friendship."
When in the rasa of neutral love (śānta-rasa) there are found traces of ghastliness or astonishment, the result is compatible. When with this neutral love there are manifestations of conjugal love, chivalry, anger or dread, the result is incompatible.
When in the ecstasy of a serving humor there are manifestations of dread, neutral love or chivalry (such as dharma-vīra and dāna-vīra), the result is compatible. The ecstasy of devotional service in chivalry (yuddha-vīra) and anger are directly produced by Kṛṣṇa Himself.
An exemplary instance of incompatibility is a statement by an impersonalist who was lamenting aloud, "I have been attached simply to the impersonal Brahman feature, and I have passed my days uselessly in practicing trance. I have not given any proper attention to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the source of the impersonal Brahman and who is the reservoir of all transcendental pleasures." In this statement there are traces of neutrality and conjugal love, and the resulting humor is incompatible.
Sometimes it is found in places like Vṛndāvana that a person with a slight devotional attitude of neutral love for Kṛṣṇa may immediately and artificially try to attain to the platform of conjugal love. But because of the incompatibility of neutrality and conjugal love, the person is found to fall from the standard of devotional service.
Easy Journey to Other Planets
For a long time the materialist was limited within the boundary of the eight material principles mentioned above. Now it is encouraging to see that he has a little preliminary information of the anti-material principle and the anti-material universe. We hope that with the progress of time the materialist will be able to estimate the value of the anti-material world, in which there is no trace of material principles. Of course the very word "anti-material" indicates that the principle is in opposition to all material qualities.
That we find in Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, "This material world is but a fractional part of the whole." If we look as far as we can see—up to the sky—our vision is still confined within only one universe, and there are unlimited universes clustered together within what is called the material world. But beyond those clusters of unlimited numbers of universes is the spiritual sky, which is also mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā, where the Lord says that beyond the material world is another nature, which is eternal; there is no history of its beginning, and it has no end. "Eternal" refers to that which has no end and no beginning. The Vedic religion is therefore called eternal because no one can trace back when it began. The Christian religion has a history of two thousand years, and the Muhammadan religion also has a history, but if one were to trace back Vedic religion, he would not find its historical beginning. Therefore it is called eternal religion.
There is a spiritual sky, where there are innumerable spiritual planets and innumerable spiritual living entities, but those who are not fit to live in that spiritual world are sent to this material world. Voluntarily we have accepted this material body, but actually we are spirit souls who should not have accepted it. When and how we accepted it cannot be traced. No one can trace the history of when the conditioned soul first accepted the material body. There are 8,400,000 forms of living entities 900,000 species of living entities are within the water, 2,000,000 species of life are among the plants and vegetables. Unfortunately, this Vedic knowledge is not instructed by any university. But these are facts. Let the botanist and anthropologist research into the Vedic conclusion. Darwin's theory of the evolution of organic matter is, of course, very prominent in the institutions of learning. But the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and other authoritative scriptures of scientific magnitude describe how the living entities in different forms of body evolve one after another. It is not a new idea, but educators are giving stress only to Darwin's theory, although in Vedic literature we have immense information of the living conditions in this material world.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
According to the custom of the Vedic civilization, when a girl is married, the brother takes the sister and brother-in-law to their home. Because the newly married girl may feel too much separation from her father's family, the brother goes with her until she reaches her father-in-law's house. The full dowry contributed by Devaka was as follows: 400 elephants fully decorated with golden garlands, 15,000 decorated horses, and 1,800 chariots. He also arranged for 200 beautiful girls to follow his daughter. The kṣatriya system of marriage, still current in India, dictates that when a kṣatriya is married, a few dozen of the bride's young girlfriends (in addition to the bride) go to the house of the king. The followers of the queen are called maidservants, but actually they act as friends of the queen. This practice is prevalent from time immemorial, traceable at least to the time before the advent of Lord Kṛṣṇa 5,000 years ago. So Vasudeva brought home another 200 beautiful girls along with his wife Devakī.
One does not even need to change his worldly position; he simply has to hear Your message. Although You are not understandable by the material senses, simply by hearing about You one can gradually conquer the nescience of misunderstanding. By Your own grace only, You become revealed to a devotee. You are unconquerable by any other means. Speculative knowledge without any trace of devotional service is simply a useless waste of time in the search for You. Devotional service is so important that even a little attempt can raise one to the highest perfectional platform. One should not, therefore, neglect this auspicious process of devotional service and take to the speculative method. By the speculative method one may gain partial knowledge of Your cosmic manifestation, but it is not possible to understand You, the origin of everything. The attempt of persons who are interested only in speculative knowledge is simply wasted labor, like the labor of a person who attempts to gain something by beating an empty husk of rice paddy. A little quantity of paddy can be husked by the grinding wheel, and one can gain some grains of rice, but if the skin of the paddy has already been beaten by the grinding wheel, there is no further gain in beating even a huge quantity of the husk. It is simply useless labor.
While Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and Their friends were engaged in the pastimes described above, the cows, being unobserved, began to wander off on their own, entering farther and farther into the deepest part of the forest, allured by fresh grasses. The goats, cows and buffalo traveled from one forest to another and entered the forest known as Īṣīkāṭavī. This forest was full of green grass, and therefore they were allured; but when they entered, they saw that there was a forest fire, and they began to cry. On the other side Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, along with Their friends, could not find their animals, and they became very much aggrieved. They began to trace the cows by following their footprints, as well as the path of eaten grass. All of the boys were fearing that their very means of livelihood, the cows, were now lost. When searching out the cows in the forest, they themselves became very tired and thirsty. Soon, however, they heard the crying of their cows. Kṛṣṇa began to call the cows by their respective names, with great noise. Upon hearing Kṛṣṇa calling, the cows immediately replied with joy.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī uses two specific words, bhaktim and parām. Bhaktiṁ parām means execution of devotional service above the neophyte stage. Those who are simply attracted to temple worship but do not know the philosophy of bhakti are in the neophyte stage. That sort of bhakti is not the perfectional stage. The perfectional stage of bhakti, or devotional service, is completely free from material contamination. The most dangerous aspect of contamination is lust, or sex life. Bhaktiṁ parām devotional service is so potent that the more one advances in this line, the more he loses his attraction for material life. One who is actually deriving benefit from hearing the rāsa-līlā dance surely achieves the transcendental position. He surely loses all traces of lust in his heart.
“Therefore, my dear Lord, I wasted so much of my valuable lifetime with no benefit. As my misconception of life intensified, I began to think of this material body, which is just a bag of flesh and bones, as the all in all, and in my vanity I believed I had become the king of human society. In this misconception of bodily life I traveled all over the world, accompanied by my military strength—soldiers, charioteers, elephants and horses. Assisted by many commanders and puffed up by power, I could not trace out Your Lordship, who always sit within my heart as the most intimate friend. I did not care for You, and this was the fault of my so-called exalted material condition. I think that, like me, all living creatures are careless about spiritual realization and are always full of anxieties, thinking, "What is to be done? What is next?" But because we are strongly bound by material desires, we continue to remain in craziness.
In due course of time, Ūṣā exhibited some bodily symptoms by which it could be understood that she was having intercourse with a male friend. The symptoms were so prominent that her actions could no longer be concealed from anyone. Ūṣā was always cheerful in the association of Aniruddha, and she did not know the bounds of her satisfaction. The housekeeper and the guards of the palace could guess very easily that she was having relations with a male friend, and without waiting for further developments, all of them informed their master, Bāṇāsura. In the Vedic culture, an unmarried girl having association with a male is the greatest disgrace to the family, and so the caretakers cautiously informed their master that Ūṣā was showing symptoms indicating a disgraceful association. The servants informed their master that they were not at all neglectful in guarding the house, being alert day and night against any young man who might enter. They were so careful that a male could not even see what was going on there, and so they were surprised that she had become contaminated. Since they could not trace out the reason for it, they submitted the whole situation before their master.
The Ganges water inundates the whole world, and since it emanates from His lotus feet, its banks have turned into great places of pilgrimage. The principal deities of all planets engage in His service and consider themselves most fortunate to take the dust of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa on their helmets. Great demigods like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and even the goddess of fortune and I are simply plenary parts of His spiritual identity, and still you think that He is not fit to use the royal insignia or even sit on the royal throne? Alas, how regrettable it is that these fools consider us, the members of the Yadu dynasty, to be like shoes and themselves like helmets. It is clear now that these leaders of the Kuru dynasty have become mad over their worldly possessions and opulence. Every statement they made was full of crazy proposals. I should immediately take them to task and bring them to their senses. If I do not take steps against them, it will be improper on My part. Therefore, on this very day I shall rid the whole world of any trace of the Kuru dynasty. I shall finish them off immediately!”
Kṛṣṇa continued to talk with His brāhmaṇa friend: “My dear friend, I think you remember our activities during the days when we were living as students. You may remember that once we went to collect fuel from the forest on the order of the guru's wife. While collecting the dried wood, we entered the dense forest and by chance became lost. There was an unexpected dust storm and then clouds and lightning in the sky and the explosive sound of thunder. Then sunset came, and we were lost in the dark jungle. After this, there was severe rainfall; the whole ground was overflooded with water, and we could not trace out the way to return to our guru's āśrama. You may remember that heavy rainfall—it was not actually rainfall but a sort of devastation. On account of the dust storm and the heavy rain, we began to feel greatly pained, and in whichever direction we turned we were bewildered. In that distressed condition, we took each other's hand and tried to find our way out. We passed the whole night in that way, and early in the morning, when our absence became known to our gurudeva, he sent his other disciples to search us out. He also came with them, and when they reached us in the jungle they found us very much distressed.
Many could not even join the bowstring to the two ends of the bow, and without attempting to pierce the fish, they simply left the bow as it was and went away. Some with great difficulty drew the string from one end to the other, but being unable to tie the other end, they were suddenly knocked down by the springlike bow. My dear Queen, you will be surprised to know that at my svayaṁvara meeting there were many famous kings and heroes present. Heroes like Jarāsandha, Ambaṣṭha, Śiśupāla, Bhīmasena, Duryodhana and Karṇa were, of course, able to string the bow, but they could not pierce the fish, because it was covered, and they could not trace it out from the reflection. The celebrated hero of the Pāṇḍavas, Arjuna, was able to see the reflection of the fish on the water, but although with great care he traced out the location of the fish and shot an arrow, he did not pierce the fish in the right spot. But his arrow at least touched the fish, and so he proved himself better than all the other princes.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate to understand the Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years.
Light of the Bhagavata
The three modes of nature divide human activities into two different spheres, one external and the other introspective. As long as a man is dominated by the modes of ignorance and passion, he is active externally in desire and lust. Men absorbed in desire and lust are called asuras, and they are always chasing after women and money. For the sake of women and money the asuras exploit every source of economic development. As a result of this asuric civilization, the entire human society becomes like a stormy sea, with no trace of peace and prosperity.
The moon is too cold for the inhabitants of this earth, and therefore ordinary persons who want to go there with earthly bodies are attempting to do so in vain. Merely seeing the moon from a distance cannot enable one to understand the real situation of the moon. One has to cross Mānasa Lake and then Sumeru Mountain, and only then can one trace out the orbit of the moon. Besides that, no ordinary man is allowed to enter that planet. Even those admitted there after death must have performed the prescribed duties to satisfy the pitās and devas. Yet even they are sent back to earth after a fixed duration of life—on the moon.
The spiritual entities are meant for enjoyment, as stated in the Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.12): ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. By nature and constitution, every living being—including the Supreme Lord and each of His parts and parcels—is meant for eternal enjoyment. The living beings who are encaged in the material tabernacle are constantly seeking enjoyment, but they are seeking it on the wrong platform. Apart from the material platform is the spiritual platform, where the Supreme Being enjoys Himself with His innumerable associates. On that platform there is no trace of material qualities, and therefore that platform is called nirguṇa. On the nirguṇa platform there is never a clash over the object of enjoyment. Here in the material world there is always a clash between different individual beings because here the proper center of enjoyment is missed. The real center of enjoyment is the Supreme Lord, who is the center of the sublime and spiritual rāsa dance. We are all meant to join Him and enjoy life with one transcendental interest and without any clash. That is the highest platform of spiritual interest, and as soon as one realizes this perfect form of oneness, there can be no question of illusion (moha) or lamentation (śoka).
Many philosophers and great ṛṣis, or mystics, try to distinguish the Absolute from the relative by their tiny brain power. This can only help them reach the negative conception of the Absolute without realizing any positive trace of the Absolute. Definition of the Absolute by negation is not complete. Such negative definitions lead one to create a concept of one's own; thus one imagines that the Absolute must be formless and without qualities. Such negative qualities are simply the reversals of relative, material qualities and are therefore also relative. By conceiving of the Absolute in this way, one can at the utmost reach the impersonal effulgence of God, known as Brahman, but one cannot make further progress to Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead.
Narada-bhakti-sutra (sutras 1 to 8 only)
The symptom of unflinching faith in pure devotional service is that one has overcome the many disruptive desires that impede pure devotional service, such as (1) the desire to worship the demigods, (2) the desire to serve someone other than Kṛṣṇa, (3) the desire to work for sense gratification, without understanding one's relationship with Kṛṣṇa, (4) the desire to cultivate impersonal knowledge and thereby forget the Supreme Lord, and (5) the desire to establish oneself as the Supreme, in which endeavor there is no trace of the bliss of devotional service. One should give up all these desires and engage exclusively in the loving devotional service of the Lord. Except for the service of the Lord, anything done is in the service of illusion, or māyā.