An Essential Service
BY: SUN STAFF
May 02, CANADA (SUN) Edited and Founded Under Direct Order of His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti-Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, by Goswami Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta.
Delhi, Monday 5th November, 1956
"Back to Godhead" is published fortnightly to enlighten modern leaders, religionists, philosophers and the people in general -- on Rational Theism. Its is not blind religious fanaticism neither it is a revolt of an upstart but it is scientific approach to the matter of our eternal necessity in relationship with the Absolute Personality of Godhead or the Purushottam. It simply deals with our eternal relation with Him, the process of discharging our relative duties towards Him and thereby to achieve the highest perfection of life attainable in the present human form of existence
We must therefore always remember this particular form of human life is obained after an evolution of many millions of years in the cycle of transmigration of the spirit soul. In this particular form of life especially in the land of "Bharatvrsa" (India) solution of economic question is much easier than that of other animals in different shapes.
There is the swine, dog, camel, ass etc., in front of whose economic necessities are as much important as that of ours. But the economic question of these animals and others are solved under nasty conditions while the human being is given all the facilities of comfortable life by the laws of nature because the human form of life is more important than the animal form.
And why a man is given better chance of living than the swine and other animals? And why a highly posted government officer is given all the facilities of comfortable life, better than an ordinary clerk? The answers for these are very simple.
The highly placed responsible officer has to discharge duties of higher responsible character than that of an ordinary clerk. Similarly the human being has to discharge higher duties of life than the animals always busy in the matter of fulfilling the hungry stomach. The modern standard of animal civilization has increased problems of hungry stomach by the laws of nature. When we approach some polished animals, they say they want to work for stomach satisfaction and there is no necessity of Godhead for them? But by the laws of nature inspite of his eagerness to work hard, there is always the question of unemployment even by denouncing the necessity of acknolwedging Godhead.
We are given this human form of encagement not for hard work like the swine or dog but to attain the highest perfection of life. If we do not want that perfection, it is by the laws of nature that we have to work very hard even if we do not want it. In the closing days of "Kaliyuga' the men have to work exactly like the asses only for a lump of bread. The sample has already begun and the ratio will increase year after year. Therefore human civilization means not to work like the animals. That makes the difference between a man and an animal. If therefore a man fails to discharge the duties of human being, he is forced to transmigrate in the degraded species of life by the laws of nature. Bhagwat Geeta has very vividly described this law of nature how a spirit soul takes his birth and gets the suitable form of sense organs for enjoying the matter and the material world.
In the Bhagwat Geeta it is also stated that the "Yoga Brasthas" or the persons who in the previous life could not complete the way of approaching Godhead but had tried for it, or in other words, persons who failed to achieve complete success in realising their eternal relation with the Supreme Lord -- are given a chance of appearing in the families of 'Suchinam' or the spiritually advanced 'Brahmin' and that of Srimatam or the financially well to do merchant class on account of such failing conditions to go back to Godhead. The failed candidates are offered such chance of noble parentage and what to speak of those who have actually attained the required success. To make an attempt therefore to go 'Back to Godhead'', even it is half finished -- is a guarantee for next birth as well placed human being.
Both these families are born to the heirarity because in the family of spiritually advanced Brahmins, the children of the family get good chance of making further progress from the point where they stopped in the previous birth in the matter of spiritual realisation. The atmosphere in such good family is favourable for the culture. The Bhagwat Geeta reminds such well placed persons about their past deeds. Unfortunately, without consultation of Bhagwat Geeta such children of Brahmin family are misguided by Maya.
And to take birth in the family of a well to do merchantile home called by the name of Vaishyas -- means solution of the bread problem from the beginning of life and later on comparatively easier and comfortable life. This situation of comparatively comfortable life is surely a chance for one to make progress in spiritual realisation. But as ill luck would have it, by the influence of the present iron age (full of machines and mechanical society) such sons of aristocracy are misguided for sense enjoyment forgetting the chance of spiritual enlightenment at a comfortable home. The law of nature is therefore setting fire in these golden homes as the golden city of Lanka, under the regime of Ravana, was burnt down to ashes on account of godlessness. That is the law of nature.
The reminders made in the "Back to Godhead" are therefore essential service to the classes of intellectuals and the capitalists. They should particularly read it carefully and see to it is going on. This is called rational theism.
The Bhagwat Geeta is the preliminary study of the transcendental science and it is the duty of every responsible heads of the society to chalk out the economic programme or other plans of welfare work with reference to Bhagwat Geeta. We are not meant for solving the economic question of life on a tottering platform but we are meant for the ultimate solution of problematic life, i.e. in which we are placed now by the conditions of nature. This is obligatory on our part and 'Back to Godhead' reminds everyone to be careful in that discharge of duty.
The present day civilisation is a static one without any movement in the spiritual side. The spirit moves the body and the living body moves the world. We care for everybody but do not know what is the moving spirit. Without this moving spirit the body becomes movementless. This human body is a first class moving vehicle to reach the destination of eternal life.
This human form of body is a rare and very important boat for crossing over the nescience of material existence. On the boat there is the expert service of the boatman the spiritual master. The boat is a plying by Divine Grace under favourable wind and who will not take this good chance of crossing over the ocean of nescience? If any body neglects this good chance he must be committing suicide.
There is certainly much comfort in the first class air conditioned compartment of a railway carriage. But if the train does not move towards the destination of journey and stands static at a certain Rly. station then what is the benefit of such air conditioned compartment?
The present day civilization is too much busy in making the material body situated in the comfortable position but it has no information of the real destination of life is to go 'Back to Godhead' and not to become a hard working ass. We remind the learned readers of 'Back to Godhead' not to remain sitting in a comfortable compartment only but to see also whether the vehicle is moving towards destination. There is no objection making our material body very comfortably situated but we may not forget at the same time the prime necessity of spiritual identity. The boat of human life must be moving towards a destination of spiritual destination. There is a good and instructive story in this connection.
There was a bridegroom party who had to go to the bride's house by the river. It was settled that they would start at night on boat and reach the destination early in the morning. At night therefore after supper the party in jubilation got on board the boat and made themselves comfortably situated after instruction to the boatman to start.
All the members of the party being comfortably seated, had a very sound sleep at night due to the cooling river breeze and all of them got up early in the morning after a very sound sleep. But to their astonishment they saw that the boat did not move an inch towards the destination although the boatmen plied the bata (boat) in the best. The boat remained static in the same port without any progress. And on enquiry it was found that in spite of the boatmen's plying the bata very vigourously the boat did not move towards the destination on account of their not raising the anchor by mistake. The marriage ceremony was thus spoiled on account of a common mistake.
The present day civilization is therefore a mistaken civilization on account of the mistaken leaders who have forgotten to raise the anchor of attachment. On the contrary the material attachment is more and more being firmly fixed up by a process of sense gratificatory social structure. This sense gratificatory process of social and political set up by various plans and schemes -- has been described in the Bhagwat Geeta (16/10-11) as follows:--
Kamam, Astritya, Duspuram, Dambha. Mana, Madannita, Mohad, Grihitwa, Asat, Grahan, Prabartante, Ashuci, Brata,
Chinta, Apareimayam, Cha, Pralayantam, Upashrita, Kamopabhoga, Parama, Etabad, Iti, Nischita.
The leaders or the boatmen who are meant for taking us to the desired destination -- are all illusioned (Moha). As such they are misleaders to some temporary benefit (Asat Grahan). And why they are so because they are all addicted to filthy life (Ashuchi Brata). Their life is full of dirty things. And how they are misleading us? It is by plans and schemes only (Chinta aparimayam). How long these plans and schemes will go on? They will go on till they die by heart failure or are killed by some enemy (Pralayanta Upashrita). What is their aim of life? What they have fixed up as the destination of life? Oh it is very simple thing. It is simply a business of sense gratification and nothing more (Kamopabhoga Parama). But some of the leaders are great philosophers also and why do they not guide the foolish mediocres and henchmen? Oh the philosphers are captivated by material name and fame. Why it is so? It is due to their being carried away by the influence of Maya (Maya apabritajnana).
So the anchor of life is fixed up deep in the water of nescience for sense gratification. Unless this anchor of sense gratification is not raised up from the water, the so called civilization will rot in a stagnant pool without any progress towards the destination of life. Because the civilization is not moving we are always in the same port of problematic life. The schemes and plans are useless scrap of papers only when there is flood and earthquakes on the very face of the plan makers. These are warnings of mother material Nature confirming Her superiority always over the plan making misleaders. 'Back to Godhead' wants to rectify these misleaders first and therefore it is an essential service.
The anchor of sense gratification, which is a stumbling block on the path of progress, is manifested in five different symptoms. They are as follows:--
(1) Attachment to the material body due to ignorance of spiritual facts.
(2) Attachment to our kinsmen on account of bodily relations.
(3) Attachment to the land of birth as also to all sorts of material possessions such as house, furniture, estates, property, business papers and all such relative things.
(4) Attachment to the holy water without knowing the persons who make it holy.
(5) Attachment to material science which always remains a mystery for want of consulation with liberated soul.
We have already discussed about these attachments or anchors of the boat of human body, in our article the S.R.C. catastrophe. These attachments have been explained in the Bhagwat Geeta in details in the 15th chapter. They have been compared with a deeply rooted banian tree ever increasing its solidarity. It is very difficult to uproot such strong banian tree but the Lord has suggested the means in the following manner. (Geeta 15/3-4)
Na, rupam, Ashya, Iha, Tatha, Upalavyate, Na, Anta.
Na, Cha, Adi, Cha, Sampratistha,
Aswathwam, Enam, Subirudha, Mulam,
Ashanga, Sastrena, Dridhyna, Chhittva.
Tatah, Padam, Parimargitabyam,
Jasmin, Gatwa, Na, Nibartanti, Bhuyah.
Tameba, Chadyam, Punsham, Prapadya.
Jatah, Prabrithi, Prashita, Purani.
Nobody has yet either a scientist or a speculative philosopher come to any final conclusion about the cosmic situation. They have nothing more than to forward different theories only about it. Some of them say that the material world is reality and others say that it is false dream. And there are some others also who say that it is ever existing. So there are different views of different mundane scholars. But with all it is a natural fact that no mundane scientist or speculative philosopher has ever discovered the cosmic beginning or its limit. Nobody can say when it had begun, how does it stand or float in the air. They might theoretically ascertain some law like law of gravitation or so but actually they cannot bring it in actual use. Can any scientist float a bulky mass of earth by the law of gravitation? No that is not possible. So the theory of the law of gravitation is false or half truth. So for want of actual knowledge of the truth, every one is anxious to forward his own theory for some reputation but the actual fact is that this material world is full of miseries and nobody can overcome them simply by forwarding some theories on it.
The Personality of Godhead who is fully cognisant of everything within His creation informs us or our interest only that should we desire to get rid of this miserable material existence, we must non-co-operate with everything material. To make the best use of a bad bargain our material existence should be cent percent spiritualised like the iron is made red hot in connection with fire. The iron is not fire but it can be turned into just like the fire by constant relation with the fire. Similarly non-attachment of material activities can be effected by spiritual activities only and not by material inertia. Material inertia is the negative side of material actions but spiritual activity is not only the negation of material action but also it is the possession of real life. And we must be anxious to search out this eternal life of spiritual existence or the life of Brahman. The life in Brahman is described here as the eternal country where from nobody has got to come back again if any one is able to enter into that eternal kingdom. That eternal kingdom is the Kingdom of God.
The beginning of our present material life is untraceable nor do we require to bother about it and we can remain satisfied only by the conviction that this material life is begun from a time immemorial and what we have to do now is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord Who is the original cause of all causes.
The preliminary qualifications therefore for going "Back to Godhead" are as follows as stated in Bhagwat Geeta (15/5).
Nirmana. Moha. Jita. Sanga, Doshah, Adhyatmanitya, Vinibritya, Kama, Dwandai, Vimukta, Sukha, Dukha, Samgai, Gachhanti, Amudha, Padam, Abyam, Tat.
One who is convinced of his spiritual identity and therby freed from the material conception of existence, who is thus freed from an illusion, who is transcendental to the qualities of material nature, who is constantly engaged in the matter of understanding spiritual knowledge and who taken complete leave from the business of sense -- enjoyment -- can go Back to Godhead.
Such person is called 'Amudha' as distinguished from the 'Mudhas' or the foolish ignorant because he is freed from the duality of happiness and distresses.
And what is the nature of the Kingdom of God? It is described in the Bhagwat Geeta (15.6) as follows:--
Na. Tad. Vashayete, Surya. Na,
Shasanka, Na, Pavoka.
Jad, Gatya, Na, Nibartante,
Tad, Dhama, Pavamam mama
Although every place is within the Kingdom of God because He is the Supreme Proprietor of all the 'Lokas' or places, Yet His Personal Dhama or abode is completely different from the one in which we are living now. It is therefore called the Paramam or the most superior Dhama. Even on the earth in which we are at the present moment, placed down -- there are different grades of places and countries. On this earth the portion which is occupied by Kashmere and neighbouring places, is called Bhusarga or the earthly heaven. Besides this earth there are innumerable globes, distributed all over the universes, some of them are far superior places and some of them are far inferior places than this earth. But all those places, within the jurisdiction of external energy material nature, do require the rays of the Sun, the rays of the moon or the light of the fire for their existence.
All these globes and planets are in the region of darkness and to illuminate them properly there is need of the Sun, the Moon and the fire.
But against this experience of dark regions extending up to the Brahma Loka the top most region of the cosmos -- there is another spiritual region which is described as the superior nature where there is no need of Surya, or the Sun, Shasanka or the Moon and Pavaka or the fire. This Dhama is described in the Upanisad (Sruti) as follows:--
Na, Tatra, Surya, Bhati, Na,
Nema, Vidyata, Bhanti, Kutah,
Tameba, Bhantam, Anubhati,
Tasya, Bhasa, Sarbam, Ebam,
"There is no need of the Sun, the moon the stars neither it is illumined by any electrical lightening and what to speak of the fire. All these universes are illumined by a reflection of that light and because that superior nature is always self illumined therefore we can experience a glow of light even in the dense darkness of night."
In the "Haribansa" the same nature is explained as follows:--
Tat, Pram, Paramam, Brahman,
Sarbam Bibhajate, Jagat.
Mama, Eba, Tadghanam, Teja,
Jnatum, Arhasi Bharata.
"The glaring effulgence of Impersonal Brahman illumines the whole existence both material and spiritual. But oh Bharata! You must understand it that this illumination of Brahman is the glare of my Personal concentrated glow."
In the Brahma Samhita also this is confirmed. Now what we have to understand from this is as follows:--
No body can discover the abode of the Personality of Godhead even by the light of the Sun, the Moon or the light of the fire. And one who can attain to that spiritual abode of the Personality of Godhead, can enjoy spiritual eternal bliss without any interruption. And the conclusion is therefore, that 'Kshara' or the fallible living entities have two phases of existence. The one is called material existence which is full of three fold miseries of birth, death, old age and diseases. And the other is called spiritual existence where there is incessant spiritual life of eternity, bliss and knowledge. In the material existence, the 'Kshara' living being is overpowered by material conception of his body and mind but in the spiritual existence he can relish always the happy transcendental contact of the personality of Godhead. Such devotee even if he appears to be alone in the lonely jungle, is always in the company of the Supreme Lord with all parapharnalia. This is a stage of realisation and not of explanation. We can simply get a slight hint of the transcendental stage.
"Back to Godhead" tries to bring in that supramental consciousness to the humanity at large and therefore it is an essential service. The only qualification for attaining this stage of life is to non-co-operate with sensual material conception of life.
Attachment or the anchor of the human boat as we have discussed above is this sensual material conception of life which can at once be turned over by devotional service. And one can adopt this principle of devotional service even in the midst of various material encagement, he can alone become transcendental to such material conception of life liberated from the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Such person is admitted in the Kingdom of God the Paramam Dhama.
To read 'Back to Godhead' regularly and to try to imbibe the principles stated therein is also transcendental to the three modes of nature and therefore it is essential service.
Everyone therefore who is ordinarily engaged in material affairs may derive highest benefit from the pages of "Back to Godhead" helping all people to cut off the root of the indefatigable banian tree described above. To accept "Sanyas" as a matter of show is a mockery pure and simple. The sadhus and sanyascies as we have described in our article "Who is a Sadhu" can never go across the river of nescience by stamping them falsely with an affixation of so called "Ananda." This so called 'anada' is sure to evaporate within no time, if he has no real taste in the transcendental loving service of Godhead. We have read the life of a greatly advertised Swami with the affix of "Ananda" and have seen how the so called "Ananda" vanished like a magic colour. So this is all non-sense.
One must be trained up only to renounce everything of material conception and try to relish spiritual mellow in every object. This stage is attainable only by devotional service and nothing else. And by such service only one can at once get into liberation (Mukti) even during the life time of this material body.
One should therefore take advantage of the instruction of Bhagwat Geeta as stated in the 12th chapter. The simplest and easiest process of material liberation in any stage of life, is described there. Everyone should adopt the principle for his own interest and the articles of Back to Godhead will help all its readers to reach the desired stage. In the 14th Chapter of Bhagwat Geeta, the manifestations in different varieties of the modes of nature, have been thoroughly discussed and the transcendental nature of all devotional service is also described there. All kinds of spiritual endeavours are more or less tinged by the colour of material quality but pure devotional services are transcendental to all such colourful affairs. Candidates desiring to go 'Back to Godhead' need not artificially adopt the principles of such designated resignations but they can only resign themselves on the Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord the Personality of Godhead -- Lord Krishna.
[Please note: The articles in this series have been typed from copies of the original manuscripts which are sometimes unclear. As far as possible, every attempt has been made to reproduce them without change.]
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